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“I will live this day as if it is my last. …I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, Yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad?”
I will live this day as if it is my last. This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day. So too, I will beat upon my heart with gratitude as I consider all who greeted yesterday’s sunrise who are no longer with the living today. I am indeed a fortunate man and today’s hours are but a bonus, undeserved. Why have I been allowed to live this extra day when others, far better than I, have departed? Is it that they have accomplished their purpose while mine is yet to be achieved? Is this another opportunity for me to become the man I know I can be?”
― Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman In The World
My partner calls me 3 weeks ago and advises she just spoke to a salesperson and that I needed to follow up. “I” needed to follow up because between my partner and I, I’m the tech guy that manages all the sales, marketing, and technology. She does the soft stuff like people management, details, and makes sure we have fuel in the tank so we can get to our destination.
I sent and email asking the young man to call me. He did and I found out that this was an industry cloud based marketing and business development tool. Since our agency is going through a transition, now is the time to analyze these types of products and services. I agreed to meet the local representative with my partner at a local Starbucks.
Yesterday we met with “Alan”. Alan was a nice young man of about 35. Dressed in a nice polo and khaki’s he greeted us with a smile and had great bonding and rapport. After about 10 minutes of small talk he said today we’re going to find out if we’re a good fit for you guys. I love this opening, this typically indicates that he will ask us questions and determine what they have that matches our needs (new school sales…).
Instead, after he made that statement he flew into the following rant “Our Company has 4 buckets. Bucket one is for marketing and sales, there is an email drip program that is amazing. We have over 3000…. at this point I tuned out. I don’t care, this meeting is not about him, and it’s about me.
After about 20 minutes of sales vomit, I said, “let me save you some time”. Our company just “demerged from a much larger organization” and we’re in the process of a major software upgrade. I’m not sure your product or service is a good fit for us at this time. He pressed on and at the end of the meeting I agree to “take an email” and ponder the fit for our company. I’m pretty sure; we will pass on this system.
So sales managers what should Alan have done? In my world, Alan would have opened after his excellent bonding and rapport with “Why in the hell am I here?” Or maybe “So you have an interest in our program, may I ask why?”.
If you are a sales person and you spend your time vomiting on your prospect, you will be an average to below average income earner. If you can figure out that sales is NOT about YOU, but ABOUT the PROSPECT, you will earn more money that you will know what to do with.
If you are in sales, talk 30% of the time, shut up! Prospects don’t care if you have 3000 affiliates, 4 buckets, or 8 lawyers on staff. Until you identify what your prospect needs, you are wasting your and the prospects time.
New school sales are all about asking questions. I say new school, this has been going on for about a century, but 92% of the people that try to sell me anything don’t ask me questions, they vomit on me about themselves or their company.
Start a revolution and don’t tell people about you or your company. They don’t care. Start asking about them, why they would even take the time to meet with you and take an interest in them and their business. You just might find out that they have pain that you can easily heal thus earning a long time client and sometimes a friend.
As we were leaving the meeting I handed Alan a toothbrush and when he said, “what’s this for?” I stated, after I vomit, I usually brush my teeth”. Alan looked confused, laughed, and got back into his car. My partner looked at me like only she can and shook her head. What…What!
One of the most interesting things about this story is that after we left the meeting my partner and I were chatting on the phone and I ask her, why did we meet with these guys? She said, the guy that called me said something that grabbed me. I said, “What did he say…” She thought for a moment and said, his opening line was “I saw you in the Indiana Business Journal”. We both laughed.
The “cold caller” took an interest in my partner and was able to get us to the table. The outside sales person blew the opportunity by losing the interest in her and focusing the interest back on himself.
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