“Make a customer, not a sale.” How? Via stupidity and selfishness, not the brochure and jargon.
Let’s find ease in this disease. Let’s celebrate a birthday-our column’s birthday. Appearing weekly in the Business Daily, Sales Pitch is now eight years old. This is the 380th article. How do we celebrate? By blowing one candle for every year. And the candle will be a choice article from each year. Here we go.
Let’s start with this one from 2013. Brochures don’t sell. Salespeople do. (This includes medical representatives with their samples). Sellers who unwisely use marketing merchandise to sell waste costly stationery and shoot themselves in the foot when the buyer says, “Leave me with these brochures to read. I’ll get back to you.” (He doesn’t)
The 2014 candle: What’s in it for me? That’s what the salesperson who wants to thrive must ask himself. The response is what keeps him going in the throes of continual rejection, unending pressure to deliver ‘numbers’, being blatantly lied to by prospects, a debilitating feeling of being continuously on the run, and occasional long sales dry spells.
Burning steadily is 2015 is, stupidity gets you places in selling. The sale is not about the seller and never will be; the sale has always been and will always be about helping the buyer. As such, you don’t want the buyer to feel stupid or intimidated. And truth is, you don’t understand him or his business as he does. Be willing to learn.
The 2016 candle flame reveals that, insisting that your 5mbps (jargon) internet speeds is fast is good to know but doesn’t tell me anything. Letting me know your speeds can download a typical movie in less than 5 minutes gives descriptive understanding. Jargon doesn’t.
Come 2017 and the candle shone thus: the power of subtle persistence works. The buyer feels that he bought and was not sold to. He feels in charge of the sale whereas in truth he wasn’t. It’s like the ego driven man who chest thumps himself to fellow men about the plot of land he identified and bought; yet in truth, his wife is the one who gently and wisely nudged him in that direction.
Let’s blow the 2018 quotes-inspired candle. “You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work.” (Laurie McIntosh); Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers. (Ross Perot). The customer’s perception is your reality (Kate Zabriskie). And my best one, “Make a customer, not a sale.”
The 2019 candle says that the strategic account manager that fails to remain strategic, compromises the account. The strategic account manager that insists that all operational matters to do with his account must be done by him drops the ball; instead like a chief executive officer, he should create a system that allows him to oversee the account.
I’ll let you choose the 2020 candle. Jog your memory from our blog. Let me know what you pick.
Happy Birthday Sales Pitch!
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