We are all familiar with the phrase, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The added suggestion is to be authentic and differentiate yourself from the rest to stand out. Unfortunately, many business professionals overlook the advice. Accordingly, the results are not as they should be.
Consider responses to your email distribution, social media postings, videos and all other methods you utilize to communicate with your audience. The following sales story and the lessons learned long ago apply to a communication of any style today.
Six months into my sales career, the Sales Manager called all of the representatives in for a team meeting. By that point, we each had a sizeable collection of prospective candidates, for the business equipment we were to sell (before CRM software came to market). Dave’s idea was for every member to contribute a fact regarding our product line. The resulting letter would become a highly detailed two-page letter to be sent to each prospect.
As the meeting progressed, I began to wonder who would read such a letter? So I asked Dave if he thought the people receiving the lengthy letter would read it. I suggested that brevity might work best by only including one interesting fact to encourage a desire to learn more. Anger could be seen on his face, and the salesmen all laughed at me (see my previous post, Stand Up for What You Believe to Succeed Your Way). The meeting ended with the directive to get our list of 200 prospects ready for the mailing. By the end of the day, the secretary had the letter prepared.
Inexperienced yet aware that:
- Customers come first
- Conversations should begin with the interest of prospects
- The goal is to find a meeting of the minds
As I drove to my territory, the first stop was at a card shop. I purchased several packages of a card that caught my eye. That evening, I hand wrote the 200 addresses and added a commemorative stamp on each envelope to mail in the morning. Entering the office, everyone else had their stack of letters and envelopes on the desk; mine were noticeably missing. Dave demanded to know where my letters were. Smiling, I replied, “They are in the mail! I thought it would be far more productive to be in the field this morning rather than stuffing the envelopes.” That didn’t go over very well.
Over the following two weeks, the entire team (except for me) received zero calls. But I received eight calls requesting meetings. It was evident the detailed two-page letter did not work as predicted. Dave asked me to confess what I sent.
What caught my eye in the card store was a petite card with a memorable picture showcasing the beach along with two beach towels under an umbrella and a family wading in the ocean. My message said, “While you are away this summer, I will make myself available to service your equipment as needed and alleviate concern. Have a wonderful vacation!”
For all types of communication, speak to the interests of your clientele first. The only way to validate interests is to ask in conversation what each prospect values and holds most important. Answers will be different for each, and that’s the reason assumptions kill the possibility of a sale. Going back to the advice of ‘sell to another as you would wish to be sold,’ wouldn’t you prefer this meeting style yourself?
Take time to examine past experiences and how you may improve upon the ones that did not work out quite so well. Sales prowess depends upon continued personal development. Being of the mindset to improve each day leads to greater success.
Pipeliner CRM empowers salespeople to communicate accurately to prospects and customers.Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.