I have a very important question to ask you. It is a question everyone of your prospects and customers asks when they see your caller ID show up on their phone, when you call for an appointment or when you send them an email. It’s the same question you ask every time someone wants a piece of your time.
But I’m getting cold feet asking you that question is. So before we go ‘there’ let’s do a very important thought experiment. I promise that you’ll make money if you think on this.
I promise you’ll make more money by doing this.
Take a piece of paper and divide it into three columns
Written – emails, mailings, brochure drop offs, social media postings
Phone – cold calls, Skype, IM, follow up calls, any cell phone or land line conversations
Meetings – appointments, presentations, any face-to-face encounter
Now write down the subjects you’ve communicated in those categories with your prospects and customers over the past few days or weeks. Be brief but think about the questions below and flesh them out in your columns. Ask yourself some things about these communications:
- What patterns do you see?
- What was discussed?
- Where you discussing your products and solutions the most?
- Was anything discussed that couldn’t be learned from a website or brochure?
- What was the ratio of you listening versus you talking?
- What percentage of the communications were about you instead of the customer? This includes your company, your solution, and your selling efforts.
- What value did your prospect leave the interaction with?
- Did the prospect want to interact with you again?
Attention Deficit Disorder
That is the scourge of today’s world. Everyone is too busy to see salespeople. We know that. We know how full our plates are.
Everyone of us has cringed when a certain phone number pops up on our cell phone. OMG -we think, this guy always wastes my time. Or, darn, this is going to be an hour long gab fest. Ok, let it go to voice mail. I’ll get to it latter.
Getting a person’s attention has become the hardest part of selling today. Voice mail blocks us out. Gatekeepers block us out. People simply don’t have the time to talk anymore. There seems always to be a hotter fire. People are dealing with the urgent instead of the important. And when they have the time they would rather do a hundred things to learn about what we’re selling rather than talk to a salesperson
- Internet research
- Call a friend
- Read an article or trade publication
- Ignore the problem
- Delegate the project
What’s the problem?
Well, it’s simple – and it is THE question:
Have you earned the right to talk to that person?
Are you prepared to answer what everyone thinks in every communication?
- What value does this give me?
- Is it worth my time and energy?
- Is this person credible?
- Will I learn anything new, let alone important?
Simple I said. Yup. But the absolutely most critical area glossed over by virtually everyone?
How do I know? Because customers tell me. Almost every survey done says things like
“Salespeople waste my time.”
“Sure, Joe is a great guy and I enjoy the free lunches but other than that I don’t get much out of meeting with him.”
Now you have to be brutally honest with yourself here
- Are you a though leader in your business or industry?
- Do you have the expertise customer’s are desperate for?
- Do you spend time consistently learning your business, your industry, and the needs of your customers?
- Are you prepared to offer more value than being a “talking brochure?”
- Are you a salesperson only, or are you a trusted adviser that people buy from?
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and answer the question “Why should I talk to you?”
The Single Most Important Thing
Are you earning the right to talk to your customer? Of getting some of their time and attention?
If not, why not?
- Are you simply regurgitating the talking points of your marketing department?
- Is your knowledge limited to your company and your products?
In all seriousness it comes down to one thing:
Would you take Bill Gate’s call?
Sure you would. I would! Why is that?
If Bill called me or wanted to have a meeting with me I would move heaven and earth to make that possible. Nothing would get in the way of having that interaction with the founder of Microsoft. And there are thousands of people that fall into that category – the must talk to people if only they were interested in talking to me. Don’t you have a list of people that you’d talk to no matter what?
So again, why is that? What do they have that we don’t? Why do our prospects, our customers, our contacts blow us off? Why are they too busy to take a call or a meeting with us? Why won’t they move mountains to get us into their offices?
Don’t blow off these questions with trite answers like, well they’re famous or they’re rich. They weren’t always that way. In-fact the vast majority of those people were obscure regular folk struggling like you and me just to make it.
How about we do another thought experiment together and list the attributes of people we would talk to regardless of how inconvenient or even costly it would be. Does your list look like mine?
- They are experts
- They are accomplished
- They know what they’re doing
- I respect them
- I trust them
- Their time is valuable so they won’t waste mine
- They must have something important to tell me
We all want the success of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson. We’d all like the incomes and selling stardom of Zig Ziglar, Joe Girard, and Tom Hopkins, just to name a few. If you don’t perhaps this isn’t the right website for you.
- How do we get that success?
- How do we open doors and get listened too?
We have to be like the people we admire. You are not going to get the same results of winners without doing what winners do.
We have to become thought leaders in our business and industry. We have to be credible trusted advisers who bring value into every meeting, conversation and correspondence we have.
Frankly, how to do that is beyond the ability of any single blog post. However that is what 180SalesCoaching is for. Inside this site are the articles, coaching and support that turns salespeople into trusted advisers instead of talking brochures. We teach salespeople how to earn the right to talk with customers.
But the process starts with asking and answering for yourself:
Have you earned the right to talk to that person?