The Right-Brain 'Art' of Sales vs. the Left-Brain 'Analytic' – Musings on Media from the 'Sell' Side, with Occasional Forays into Music…and Wine
They [Your Client] Just Aren’t That Into You
…so get over it. Really. It’s not a big deal. While ‘you’ are fine, what they want is what you represent, what you can do for them. It’s not a big deal, so frame your approach with that in mind, and don’t let some, uh, “important”, SVP-type tell you otherwise [more on that below.]
What am I talking about here?
If you are on the Sales side, and you insist on imposing upon your Client/Agency to listen to the details of every facet of your product, stuff they don’t give a sh*t about for an hour “+”…it is YOU who loses. And yet, all too often, Sales talent are forced into that by those they work for…even very senior Sales “executives” [who in reality, may be that really in name only.]
I am now in preparation to give an Intro session at a major ad agency for a firm I am involved with, and my thoughts go back to times when I’ve been forced to ‘tell them about everything we’ve got’, in an almost everything-and-the-kitchen-sink kind of carnival session. But when you do that, you throw so much stuff out there, that your Agency/Client contact [who so graciously agreed to see you], has nothing to latch on to, nothing to have interest in.
Nothing to focus on, in terms of what they might want to buy from you. You have so diluted their interest by then, they don’t see how your offering suits their needs or interests. And…you…are…done.
One global publishing firm that I was with for a short time, committed this egregious sin while I was there, with another major LA-based agency. I had just arrived at this firm, and watched in horror as they went through every…single…property…that they owned. Worse, people had flown in from Chicago, NYC, Dallas, to take part in this. They discussed, in depth, their main homesite, their 4 sister sites and 4 affiliated sites, their Blog tie-ins, their Sponsorship options, their…you get the idea.
Did they “discuss”, or ask…maybe what kinds of things are of interest to the Brands currently at that agency? Did they show examples of good ideas incorporating say, some of the Brands that this agency buys for, demonstrating both our interest in THEM…and a solid reason why they should be interested in US? Uhh, no.
It was Barf City, clearly, for that agency to listen to this…and for me to observe!
Too often the main culprit here, is overzealous, arrogant Sales Mgmt that expects you to be “thorough”, or be “fired.” It in fact is THEY who should be fired; because if they were somehow put in charge of Sales, yet focus on boring their prospective audience into reticence, losing their attention, and thus losing out on any short-term sales potential…their ego has taken the place of their effectiveness.
On the Sales side then, if your belief set follows along the lines of what I’ve described above, I think there are pretty much only 2 paths you & I can pursue, for better or worse: 1] Use ‘Behavioral Interviewing’ questions in reverse when going to work for a company, to see if they’ll allow you or not, to sell in an effective way…and not in their obsolete, “required” way, and 2] Figure out how to work for yourself, and still Sell.
Notice that there is a 3rd option as well, one that you have much less control over, though in reality is the one that many are likely locked into trying: That is, if you believe in this type of approach, making an effort to sell “up the ladder” within your current company [i.e. to what could be some of those same exec’s described above], this new direction you’d like to take your Sales pursuit in.
I’ve seen…and had…very mixed results here, as the ‘friction points’ are many, which continues to surprise me, as Sales is about selling [or should be], and less about HOW you sell if you are getting results [or again, should be.] None of this means that you ‘don’t toe the company line’, either. It really has nothing to do with any of that.
All of this said, yes, there are times when you have something new, and really DON’T know what they want, despite every effort being made. Fine, from your point so they agree with this, and then still be brief, coming back to items they have shown interest in. But as a general rule, being effective often means being brief.
Just think how surprised they’ll be, when you stop talking, sit down…and ask THEM a question?