I was having a conversation yesterday with one of my employees that we are always selling. We are selling when we are trying to get a date, we are selling when we are trying to get a job, we are always selling. But we don’t have to always be pitching. Sometimes we are communicating and educating and learning. There is a big difference between all of those…they are all part of the selling process, but not at all the same thing.
I got an email today from someone who had been introduced to me virtually by another member of the networking group I am a part of. The email basically just started right in with a sales pitch. Never asked me what I did or how they could help or what I needed help with.
I don’t want to be pitched your shit the second I meet you!
I want to start a relationship with you. If you have something that solves a problem I have then we can talk, but until that is established, don’t pitch me your product/solution.
Many of us are very excited and happy about what we do and we can’t wait to tell others about it-that’s great! But before we can sell, we have to establish that you have something that solves a problem I have. If you solve a problem I have then you are doing something for me and you have my attention. The hardest thing for you to get these days is attention. Get my attention first by solving a problem I have. If you just give me the same pitch you give everyone else, then you are selling me your shit and I don’t want you to sell me your shit! I love to buy stuff, but only stuff that helps me.
Gary Vaynerchuck talks about giving at least 51% of the value of a relationship to the other person because 49% of a great relationship is better than 95% of something that sucks. Most of the time when we meet someone we are looking to establish a connection and a relationship. It seems to me that very few of the sales and customers that are the good ones are one and done. The longer you have my attention the better chance you have of getting me to do what you want-purchasing your product. If you go straight into the pitch then you don’t have my attention very long and you aren’t very likely to get me to do business with you…
Networking and relationship building is not about the sale today, it is about the relationship and the sale that comes later because you like doing business with people you trust. When I first started in Rainmakers Bryon (a friend and fellow Rainmaker) told me that people are not going to automatically do business with me because I joined the group. They are going to eventually do business with me because they will get to know me and want to support someone they like and trust.
Educate me and engage with me, but don’t sell or pitch me.
I was talking with Megan this morning about a sales person that has made her mad because he didn’t listen. She told him clearly what she was interested in and his proposal didn’t mirror that information at all. Clearly he hadn’t figured out what her pain points were-even though she told him explicitly. When she told him why she didn’t want to do business with him he responded that he thought his solution would be better for her (actually it meant a bigger sale for him-better for him, not better for her) and lost the sale. A smaller sale today to understand what she needed could have led to a bigger sale later. Being too sales oriented right up front got the door shut in his face as someone who doesn’t care what is best for us.
The relationship he could have established could have happened over the course of one meeting. When I say “relationship” I am not always talking about someone you know for years before you ever do business with them. By simply listening to them for a minute or two and actually hearing and mirroring what they are telling you there is a relationship established. So many sales pitches are just that, pitched at us like a baseball. By simply listening for as little as a couple minutes you will be solving a problem for a potential client instead of pitching someone.
I have always been told that the best marketing pieces put the customer in a place where they can see themselves using the product or service-that’s why ads have people in them that match the target demographic so we can actually see “ourselves” in that car or drinking that beer. But you can’t do that if you don’t know what I am or what I am trying to do or worse yet, even who I am.
We are all selling all the time. Sales tends to cure almost all that ails us in our businesses. But remember, the education and listening process is also part of selling. When you meet someone take the time to do the learning and listening part in order to decide whether or not you need to get to the “pitch” portion.