Crossing the Line: Not Your Mom's Sales Advice
Not your mom's at all, actually, it was a friend of mine from college. He's an all-time homie who is chalked full of one-liners. One-liners that would always shtick. In college, we laughed at them because he would insert them at the most opportune moments as if it was scripted. I'm guessing the typical buzz we had going didn't help us forget them. And let me tell you, they always came across as hysterical. Now, after years spent in both sales & marketing, I can't help but think of how some of those one-liners are so relevant to my career nearly seventeen years later.
Here are the top four that I can recall:
- "Don't worry about me, worry about yourself."
- "Three quick ones."
- "I'll bet my life on it."
- "C-ya" (You need to extend this one. C-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa is more like it)
To best understand how these phrases were typically used I need to insert them into a story about a competitive game of foosball (we once had an 85 game series over the course of a month, it was phenomenal).
- Derek: "It's 9-7 game point, you're going down dude!"
- EW: "Don't worry about me, worry about yourself."
- Derek: "Okay, hustle it up so you can get me a fresh beer."
- EW: "Sure, just need three quick ones."
- In the meantime, the score changes from 9-7 to 9-8, and from 9-8 to 9-9.
- Derek: "Dude, I let you score so you wouldn't feel bad, you're never going win man."
- EW: "Wanna bet?" "I'll bet my life on it."
- In the meantime, Wigand winds one up that ricochet's off my goalie and in the goal.
- EW: "Boom, 10-9 winner! C-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"
Aren't you in sales" is the typical reaction I get when someone responds to what my team and I post on social media? "Sure" is the word I normally would use if in fact, I respond. After all my years in sales and marketing here's my thought process. How many workflows are you currently in? The answer is more than likely you don't know but I would guarantee it's several, maybe even hundreds. Do me a favor and scroll through your email and count up the number of messages that are not from a colleague or from someone you know? Congrats, you're in someone's workflow. Somewhere you interacted or engaged with their content. That's called marketing. As the Director of Brand Engagement, my team puts out content albeit slightly different [from marketing] as a means to start a conversation. The difference with sales is that this is a "cadence" or "sequence." Think of it this way, how does Snoop Dogg get ready for the day? After waking at 10 O'Clock in the morning he stretches, hits the bath to wash up, talks to himself in the mirror, files his fingernails, applies lotion to his skin, takes a bubble bath, washes his hair, applies cool water cologne, and puts on his white socks with the all blue chucks.
Our exact cadence I won't share with anyone, that's only for my team and me. Yet, I will share with you the thought process that goes into our cadence and why. In my experience, it's these specific guidelines that make a salesperson successful in 2017.
- Sales is a popularity contest
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, I beg to differ." Okay, well how about this. The way a salesperson adds value is significantly different than it was five years ago. Social media, for one thing, is everywhere. Not to mention the amount of content that is accessible for anyone. You can now go online and find any piece of information you want, for free. The one thing you have that no one else has is easy, it's you. Your success can be directly related to your ability to see and be seen by others. . My vision for my team was to always be top of mind anytime someone hops onto LinkedIn. So we post often, most days we post upwards of three times. Just last month I ran into one of my LinkedIn connections at the grocery store. He's the director of marketing for a target company of ours and we had never met in person. He wanted me to know that all he ever sees on LinkedIn is our content and appreciates what we're doing over here.
- Nobody remembers the normal kid
So what's normal? Well, if all you do is a post about your company you risk becoming white noise. Think of it this way. How many friend requests do you get from high school classmates that you don't remember? How about that kid who streaked the football field during homecoming? That kid who played receiver on the football team and Romeo in the school play? Or, how about that girl who jammed a piece of candy up her nose on a dare? Yeah, friend request accepted...all day.
- Everybody needs a brand
If you can't take 30 seconds to tell me why I should engage with what you shared why should I take 10 minutes to read it? Your personal brand isn't your LinkedIn profile, it's what you say about the things you share. No context=no read.
- Networking is spelled incorrectly
"What do you do?" It's the dumbest question you could ever ask someone. Think of it this way, what's the first thing you said to your wife when you met? That's a better approach every.single.time. When you start a conversation out with the question "what do you do" you're just labeling yourself as someone with an agenda. This is especially true at functions where networking is present. All I do in those situations is talk about the shrimp cocktail. "It's huge!" Networking is now spelled V O L U N T E E R I N G. Get yourself out there and donate some of your time and don't ever bring up work. Just introduce yourself and smile and if you do have to ask them a question, "who are you?" is much better if positioned correctly.
How's that networking working for ya?