Well sort of anyway… Recently did an interview with Jay McDonald, a successful serial entrepreneur, CEO and now Vistage Chair. His version of “lie, cheat and steal” makes a ton of sense.
As a sales rep, you know better than anybody what your customers and prospects need to know. You’ve done your research. You know their issues, challenges and objectives. You know the value they could accrue by using your stuff. They just won’t take the time to meet with you and listen! Well, maybe it’s you that needs to listen up. I think there’s a question that needs answering…
Build credibility BEFORE you meet the customer. Build an e-Rep.
Every sales pro knows that establishing a solid, credible, cordial business relationship with the decision-maker is fundamentally essential for success. Every sales pro also knows that doing so takes time – precious, fleeting, oh-so-valuable time.
Most business processes, being at their core pretty scientific, can be studied, dissected, and redesigned so that the cycle time for their execution can be dramatically reduced. I’ve always firmly believed that this was true for all but one business process. The exception being establishing a business relationship with an executive-level decision-maker.
Thankfully, I’m wrong. Dead wrong.
A business talk radio show can reduce the cycle time to less than an hour. Invest an additional 50.39 seconds to listen to three audio-clips-worth of executive business relationships getting established. The first clip is with a VP of Business Development for a major Control Systems Integrator. (VPs of Business Development, by the way are my primary targets.) My co-host and I met this gentleman face-to-face for the very first time roughly 25 minutes before the recording.
Note a few extremely significant facts:
- The radio show guest – my prospect; the guy I want to buy from me – less than 30 minutes after shaking my hand for the very first time – is comfortable enough with me to take a cheap shot
- He, me and my co-host have a hearty laugh at my expense
- After the laugh, he and we immediately get back to discussing a serious business issue (…one that has high odds of leading to sale for us.)
The next clip is with the Chief Information Officer of major textile manufacturer. The Proven Method, our client, is sponsoring a radio show to connect with CIOs, their target decision-makers. My co-host and I had met this gentleman-and potential-customer’s-customer less than 10 minutes prior to the following recording. (Note: His name is Peter Appleyard. We humans, due to our genetic/linguistic wiring, struggle mightily with pronouncing “er” when the next syllable happens to include the letters “p” and “l.” I had to re-record the intro 3 times until I could spit out “Peter” vs. “Petel.”)
After our guest had the chance to chide me during the episode’s commercial break as you just heard; and after my intrepid partner had the opportunity to “scold” me for my mispronunciation, he did this….
Yeah, it’s the little things. Little, interpersonal interactions that bring the decision-making-holder-of-the-deal-making-power into our close-the-deal world. You just listened to Todd & I do it twice. We got the opportunity to establish a strong business bond with both of these executives for two reasons.
- We invited them to be guests on our own business talk radio show
- The business talk radio show experience we gave them inevitably created a fun, memorable moment amidst the serious business at hand
What’s your lame excuse for not using this powerful selling tactic?
Get viewed by more than a million people in less than a week. That’s the generally accepted minimum for “going viral.” Let’s just go with that as a definition for now.
Going viral is the benchmark. It’s the essential badge of honor that differentiates between a legitimately talented marketer and a wanna’ be. If one of your blog posts or videos or pithily-captioned images or whatever hasn’t gone viral, don’t even try to pretend you really know what you’re doing.
The above paragraph is total bull&@%#.
As a B2B sales pro, I could care less about attracting the attention of a million people. I’m not selling to a million miscellaneous people. I’m selling to a meticulously selected few decision-swaying executives. Yes, I want my virus to be extremely virulent, but I only need it to infect that chosen few.
Am I suggesting you should repeatedly expend the considerable time and effort required to produce a set of digital pieces that effectively communicates your highly customized value proposition to only 3 or 4 key people for every significant opportunity you are pursuing? Yes!
Allow me to repeat. Yes. I am urging you to repeatedly expend the considerable time and effort required to produce a set of digital pieces that effectively communicates your highly customized value proposition to only 3 or 4 key people for every significant opportunity you are pursuing.
Think about the situation where 4 people in your customer will be deeply involved in making a decision about your proposal. One of those folks is your champion. You’ve never met two of them. Because of an odd set of circumstances a few years ago, the fourth thinks you’re a knucklehead.
It could take weeks – even months – to get appointments with them all. You might never get in front of #4.
What if you made a short video concisely articulating the guts of your value proposition including the financial impact, and laying out an implementation plan? Your champion, obviously, would look at it carefully. Your champion would also (at your request) forward it to the other three with a strong endorsement for moving forward.
Now it’s you and/or your team (via your e-Rep, a digital extension of yourselves) explaining the value and sorting through the complexity. You no longer need to depend on your champion to get it all communicated. And it all gets communicated right now instead of next week or next month.
As I might have mentioned, you need to repeatedly expend the considerable time and effort required to produce a set of digital pieces that effectively communicates your highly customized value proposition to only 3 or 4 key people for every significant opportunity you are pursuing.