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
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