One of the most underrated skills in sales and marketing is…
One of the more underrated skills or disciplines in sales & marketing is consistency: showing up, ready to serve consistently. Far too many of us in the profession are sporadic with a skewed schedule. Our customers never know when we’re going to show up. And if we’re good, they want us to show up, ready to serve them. If you’re always throwing off excuses to your customer, if you always have a story for them, if you’re always apologizing to them, that’s a poor score. There’s too much competition out there for erratic behavior like that. Your customers don’t want another sloppy sales guy who struggled to get out of bed this morning and barely even make it to his mobile office.
What do they want? What do customers want in their sales & marketing pro?
In their sales & marketing pro, they want energy, enthusiasm, expertise, experience and excellence. They want someone who shows up, ready to serve with care. And care is important, too.
Do not underestimate care!
They certainly don’t want the sales guy who doesn’t give a shit. What could be worse for them!? And we’ve all had the experience in a retail store of the sales retail clerk who doesn’t care. You just wanted to get out of there immediately, didn’t you? The sales clerk ruined the buying experience for you much the same way that the proverbial used car salesman ruins the car buying experience for many, many people. If the buyer doesn’t like the sales guy, the buyer is also not going to like the company he / she represents.
Salespeople forget that they are the company’s #1 brand ambassador. They are the face of the company to the public, to everyone.
People don’t buy from companies. People buy from people.
There is no such thing as B2B. There is only P2P. Person to Person.
Not only are salespeople the company’s #1 brand ambassador, they also may be the only differentiation that the buyer sees. Guess what happens when the buyer doesn’t see any product or service differentiation when they’re ready to buy? 1) They buy the lowest price (yes, you do, too); 2) They buy from the salesperson they like best (yes, you do, too).
It is the job of the sales pro to point out that differentiation to the buyer because it is not the buyer’s job to see it / know it / get it. Also, this differentiation does not come from the marketing department. They don’t know the product and market as well as the sales pro. If they don’t know the market and product and customer as well as the sales pro, how can they possibly write the differentiation points? It is up to sales to create this.
Further, the buyer may not know entirely how to buy. It’s strange, but it is true. Sometimes companies, particularly Big Companies, have a tough time accepting money from their customers, and those customers have a very hard, frustrating experience of giving their money to these big firms. It is strange and it happens far too often. Very frustrating for them. Perhaps you’ve lived this recently.
So, they need a guide along the buying journey. That guide ought to be you. How dumb is the scenario that a company would lose a customer because they became completely frustrated and flummoxed by a big company’s you-can-only-buy-from-us-in-this-way policy? It frustrates me just to write that. So, sales pros with inside baseball of the inner workings and machinations of their big organizations and their grinding gears are adding differentiated value. Odd as it may seem in our Amazon-centric world of one-click buying. Some big organizations make it about as hard to do business with them as humanly possible.
Sales & marketing pros often forget that they are the #1 source of differentiation in the marketplace. When there is no other course or source of perceived differentiation, it is up to them to create it or be it. Since they are so close to the market, so close to the product, so close to the customer, it is easy to miss this. A great way to gauge this quality is to ask the customer why he buys from Joe / Jane Sales Pro when there are so many other options out there. How does he talk about Jane and Jane’s company when Jane isn’t around? What is it specifically that Jane does that resonates with him and his team?
Use the Jeffrey Gitomer-patented, sales pro shortcut: figure out why people buy from you. You know, ask them.
There is particular market intelligence in figuring out Why people buy from you. The customer’s Why is often divergent from the Why the sales pro thinks. It is usually the small things that add up to big things, similar to how to build a trusted relationship.
Here’s how to build a trusted relationship:
You start small. You give. You exhibit generosity. You leave. You come back. You give again. You see if you can help solve a problem. You teach. You leave. You come back again. You close an open loop they opened last time. You remembered. You give them a story. You leave. You come back again with a new teaching. You solve a vexing problem. You leave. You come back again.
And before you know it, you’ve unconsciously built a trusted relationship, the likes of which are difficult for the competition to penetrate.
Note what is conspicuous by its absence above: sales talk; buy my stuff! buy my stuff! buy my stuff! Ramming product down the customer’s throat. Talking smack about the competition. Price concessions. The Sales Pro talking about her company and how great it is and how long they’ve been in business. The Sales Pro talking about herself. Basically, anything you would normally find in the old world of salesmanship. Gone.
Jane led with value. Jane solved problems. Jane taught. Jane took them to their favorite restaurant for dinner. Jane didn’t ask for anything in return in the first four to five customer interactions. She was just there for them. Jane showed up, ready to serve with a genuine service-oriented heart. People want to be around Jane because of the way she carries herself, the way in which she subconsciously tells people how she wants to be treated. Jane knows if she treats her customers like kings & queens, they will treat her accordingly, and talk about her accordingly to others. All this wonderfulness by leading with value and solving problems and making everything you do about the customer.
That’s the missing skill that eludes most sales and marketing pros.