I probably have dozens of article drafts on selling that have never been fully developed to the point where they are fit for publication. I might get started writing them and then lose interest or, there might not be enough meat in the topic to meet my standards for a complete article.
All these partial posts are like annoying threads that keep popping up on the edges of my favorite worn out bell-bottom jeans. Well, I’m getting out the scissors and here are three and we’ll follow up with three more on a regular basis. Bon appetite!
How About a Target Connections Persona?
There is quite a bit of discussion these days about the importance of developing a target buyer persona. These are the people who are most likely to buy from you or to refer you to someone who will. While this has always been important, given the sheer volume of social media, it’s practically selling suicide to not have one!
This same philosophy should first be extended to those people who you choose to follow, or to connect with, on the social networks. After all, you are granting these folks certain privileges and … it is there stuff that is going to appear in your news feeds. Do they add value or simply noise?
I get a huge volume of Twitter followers and connection requests on LinkedIn from people with very impressive resumes. Most are not personalized. While I have much respect for their qualifications … we have nothing in common from what I can see. If we do, they rarely take the time to tell me why I am wrong. And, I should accept your invitation … why?
Finally, we have to evaluate the purpose of even connecting in the first place. Let’s face it, even if we apply rigorous connection qualification meters, only 20% of these folks represent any kind of a valid business opportunity. Therefore, since we have to filter regardless … do you want to do that with hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands?
Things Your Customer Was Thinking But …
Never got around to telling you. These same things are the reasons why you did not earn their business.
“You didn’t listen”
“You knew nothing about me, my business, or our needs”
“You ‘showed up and throwed up’”
“Your messaging was obviously automated, a template, or both”
“Your solutions did not address my needs”
“I have no idea of who you are”
“You tried to get me into bed without so much as a cup of coffee. How about a little foreplay?”
“You never demonstrated your value or cost-justified the expense – first of all, it should be an investment and any good investment has some sort of a return. Even a cup of coffee has an ROI … It warms you up and keeps you up.”
“I don’t trust you / believe you”
“You and yours are no different from the rest”
Quick! What’s the most dangerous objection? It’s the one that you never hear. #ouch. The best way to uncover a hidden objection? Ask them for the order. If the answer is “no”, and you have done everything else correctly … you have earned the right to ask them “why?”
A New Day for Selling But, It’s Twilight for Me
Here we are in probably the most exciting time in selling and I find myself hampered by “Father Time”. It’s not that I couldn’t get back out there and rack up sales but, I’ve earned my impending retirement and I have no intentions of screwing that up by soliciting work. Oh … if I were only ten (or more) years younger.
While I may be moving to the sidelines, I see young people who are neglecting these opportunities. I’m honestly not sure if it is a conscious decision, motivated by sloth, they really don’t care, or they really don’t understand. Personally, I find only the last to be a viable excuse. I suppose that you can lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way! More likely, those who do not act will be run over by those that do.
I write a lot about selling and some might be wondering … “If you are no longer in the trenches, what makes your writing even remotely pertinent?” Fair question. How about because I can and I have. When you have worked in direct B2B sales and sales management for as long as I did (40 years), that shit don’t wash off.
In fact, I may be in even a better position to observe and strategize about how I would tactically approach social selling then those who are actively engaged in the battle. It’s one of those forest – trees things.
That being said, sometimes I feel like a three-masted schooner in a sea of nuclear subs. I still believe strongly in the importance of salespeople and basic selling principles. Yet, both seem to be rapidly becoming overlooked if not dismissed entirely. In my day, we did it all. Now we have specialists with a variety of acronym titles.
Perhaps selling today is for younger folks but, they could still use a few tips from we dinosaurs. I’d start with this. Those of you who were born into a digital world, and raised in one, should apply some of those social friend skills to selling. Craig … out.