All Pitch. No Listen.
When we look at this from the SalesPerson's or Vendor's perspective, at first glance it seems easy to avoid being this rep or vendor. However, this goes deeper than just being considerate or asking questions up front. This isn't about a tactic to warm up your prospect. It's about how well you really know your market and your customer.
It's worth saying again: "This is a RELATIONSHIP driven market - and relationships don't start with buzzwords or "Glad I caught you, let me tell you about my product or service"... they start with conversations. Conversations normally start with one of two things: a meaningful or thoughtful observation about the other party or a topic they are interested in, or a question".
So how do you call a prospect prepared with a meaningful or thoughtful observation or question about the other party or a topic they are interested in?
It takes commitment. A commitment to adding value as an individual or vendor - and a commitment to the market. If you're just here to push more product to drive revenue and commission checks this market will sniff you out in a split second. So, how do you deliver on this commitment? I deliver days of training and ongoing mentorship on just this topic alone, but here are a few high level directions to move in and tips to consider:
- Read what they read. Think about the Top HR Executive or Top Staffing Industry Executives at your target sized customer. What on-line communities are they a member of? (Are you there? Do you contribute or at least monitor the topic trends?) What Magazines, Publications, or newsletters do you think they might subscribe to? (Are you looking at the same?) What do you think their Google Reader and/or Alerts are following? What general news topics impact their industry and the profession? (Are you considering this?)
- Go where they go. Don't stalk them - I'm talking about industry conferences and events. There is no better way to develop a relationship than in person - face to face. If you are genuine in your commitment to the market and have value to add - being at an event (I'm not talking about your required booth, etc.) ... being there and contributing to the REAL conversations without a pitch - this will give you credibility it could take years to develop over the phone. Don't view shows and events for the immediate conversion to sales - just don't bother going if that is what you are looking for - view it as the place to differentiate yourself and your brand via real value add (THIS IS WORK. RELATIONSHIPS TAKE WORK).
- Know something about their company. Is your target public? (before you pick up the phone, how is their stock price today?) Have you taken a quick look at their website? (What was their latest press release?) Do you have a Google Alert set up on their company/brand name? or did you bother to Google them before calling?
- Know something about the individual you are calling. Did you try to take a look at their LinkedIn profile? (Any shared connections? or experiences? interests?) Did you Google them? (Have they contributed any content or opinions anywhere?) Did you take any notes in your last conversation? (How was that vacation you were on last time I tried to call? or you mentioned business was tough in this economy - getting any better?)
Don't be that salesperson.
Don't be that vendor.
Add value. Differentiate yourself. You and your company will be better off for it.
Comments? Bring it on....
Reason #2 to Hang Up On A Sales Person is coming this week. Any favorites I've left off the list you want to get consideration? Let me know in comments here...
Until next time.