Industry Magazine Get JACK'D Magazine Spring 2017 | Page 29

OKAY, NOT all do, but far too many do. Yet, in many cases, the salespeople are well intended but just don’t know any better. The salespeople are being directed by their Sales Managers to “get out there and sell”. The salespeople are always hearing about their budgets they need to hit. The salespeople are hearing regularly about how many “no’s” they need to hear in order to get a “yes”, and so the key is to bang the market until you get that “yes”. Any of this sound familiar? Now, I believe in most of the above but taken in a different light. You see, sales budgets/goals are important and need to be met. The only way to bring the business in is to get in your market consistently. However, people don’t want to be sold, therefore the sales professional’s job is to help people to buy. This subtlety is important. Real selling is helping people with their needs, opportunities, and problems. This requires the sales professional to do some homework before rushing out into the market. The sales professional needs to wear the hat of someone who can bring more than his or her products/services to the marketplace. The sales professional needs to call on less people but call on those people more frequently. The sales professional needs to sit side-by-side with the prospect/customer and not across the table, which can create a feeling more like an adversarial role than a partnership. Let me use “The Touch System” as an example of how all this should work. The latest stats in this area state that it takes nine touches before your prospect even knows you exist (therefore the mantra “get out there and sell”). Yet, companies and salespeople average just five and quit and move on to other targets (meaning those prospects you’ve spent the time to touch five times haven’t even heard you). While that in itself is a problem, an even bigger issue is the manner in which too many companies/salespeople are performing these touches. All too often, the touches can be grouped into two categories: things about the company and things about the salesperson. If that’s all you’re touching your prospects/ customers with, then you are better categorized as a pest, or an annoyance. Prior to the internet, salespeople had the role of bringing their briefcases stuffed with examples/samples of their products/services. The world today is a far different world. All of that and then some can easily be obtained by the prospect/customer by researching your company’s website. While these types of touches can be helpful, they need to be a part of a bigger menu of touches. For example, today’s sales professionals should be touching their prospects/customers with industry information and ideas that could help them in their businesses. As sales professionals, we should “go deep” in being knowledgeable about our potential client’s industry. Joining and participating in industry trade groups. Subscribing and reading the targeted- industry trade press. Attending the targeted-industry trade shows. Writing educational articles for the targeted industry. Speaking at targeted-industry gatherings. Being active in the targeted-industry groups on LinkedIn and being active with contributions. All of these types of actions should not only raise your profile in the industry and differentiate the sales professional from the competitors but also provide plenty of material to touch your prospects/customers beyond your products/services. Another example is to leverage touching our prospects/ customers with general business information. As my friend Verne Harnish is fond of saying, readers are leaders. The sales professional should be regularly reading current business books, not only for personal improvement but also to provide helpful information to prospects/customers. The pace of change has never been greater. As a result, many successful businesses will need to make significant changes to the way they bring themselves to market or risk being left behind. For the sales professional to bring this awareness to a targeted marketplace is a touch that will be well received and rewarded. As I like to say it, help your customers with their needs, opportunities, and problems in the best way that you can, even if it means not ME! We all know that people do business with people they like. As such, touching people with things you know about them personally can both stand out and be appreciated. For example, people generally know that I am a triathlete, a marathoner, a golfer, a fortunate husband of forty-seven years, and a grandpop to two little boys. This is the type of information which can be gold for a sales professional and stored in a contact management system. I’ve helped many folks with tips to improve their golf games. I’ve made bike recommendations to triathletes. Similarly, I’ve been the recipient of similar touches. Each time I have been on the receiving end of such touches, my rel ationship grew deeper with the provider. Another touch opportunity is in the fun category. While I don’t fly Southwest Airlines very often, they have for decades sent me a birthday card, whereas airlines I’ve flown millions of miles with have never sent me a card. (The reason for not flying Southwest has more to do with the places I’m flying to rather than the airline. Whenever I have the opportunity, it’s Southwest). How many of you are regularly sending birthday cards to your prospects/customers? I’ve used photo cards that put smiles on people’s faces as well as fun pieces over the Facebook platform. And the list goes on. The key here is the mix rather than a steady diet of things about your company/product (blah, blah, blah). Beyond the mix of content, pay attention to the “how” of your touches. Try mixing things up, alternating amongst personal visits, phone calls, emails, voice mails, snail mail, faxes, and social media. Our databases of prospects, customers, and clients should be ranked in some fashion as to their importance, which will then determine the frequency of the contact. All of this can then be systemized in a contact management system, and the maintenance of the system can be delegated to an assistant. Let your competition “show up and throw up” while you sell professionally.