Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's the Value on the Table?

Why would anyone want to meet with you?  What might you bring to the table?

I have had to face those two questions alot recently as I have been expanding my training business to Cleveland.

Each business person I approach with the request to chat over a cup of coffee, I am sure they are thinking those two questions and sometimes they are saying them right out loud!  It is a little humbling to say the least!

Here's what I think I bring to the table:

1.  I am a good creative listener so that even though I am new to that area, I have already figured out helpful connections to make.  That may be just a natural ability that I have, but I think everyone can do this if they work on it a little bit.

2.  I like hearing the story of each person and many times just being able to tell his or her story makes a person's day.  

3.  I learn from each person.  They may not know that they are teaching me, but it is the little things they do or show me that make my selling just a bit easier.  One gentleman just recently gave me the perfect words to say when a prospect uses the objection that they are already doing training.  When I have received this type of help, I let people know how much they have impacted my life.

4.  I am willing to donate my time to volunteer within the community as much as I can.  While it may not be as much as someone who lives in Cleveland full time, I figure every little bit helps.

5.  I'm good at sharing what I've learned about each person with others that I meet. I help their message to travel farther!

So for those of you breaking in to a new location or a new territory, determine what you offer when you are getting acquainted with your new friends!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It is as Bad as an Ugly Remodel?

I don't know if you watch Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict (it is one of my guilty pleasures) but the premise behind the reality show is that Nicole rescues houses that are in bad repair but still have potential to be wonderful homes.  She restores them using materials that would have been used in the homes during the time they were built.  Many times she discovers beautiful woodwork that has been covered in a later, very ugly, remodel attempt.  She can always be heard saying, "What the heck?!?  Why would anyone do this?!?"

That is the very way I have been feeling about some people on Linkedin recently.  The premise behind this application is for people who know each other to stay in touch.  If there is someone listed that you want to meet, an introduction is encouraged by another known person in your Linkedin network.

So with that all being said, when someone in my personal network asks for help in connecting with someone I don't know, the first place I research is Linkedin to see if that target person is listed and then if so, who in my Linkedin network is connected to him or her.  I then ask for help in making the connection.  Good strategy, right?  Wrong!  Five times, yep, count em', five times within the last couple months, when I have requested help being connected, my acquaintances have said something like, "I am only connected to that person on Linkedin, I don't really know them."

So channeling Nicole Curtis, "What the h......?"

Do you think people have forgotten what Linkedin is about?  Or am I all wet?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asking for Three, Part 2

I do have an example of when asking for three actually worked!

Years ago I managed a sales team for a payroll service company.  50% of our business came from CPA referrals because we called on the accounting community, developed strong relationships with them and then continued those business friendships.

One sales person, Cathy,  received almost the remaining other 50% from client referrals.  When asked about
it, Cathy said, "Well when I first go out to visit them, I ask for a referral and I usually don't get one. Then when I set up the payroll, I ask again and don't receive one then either."  "BUT," Cathy said, "When I deliver the first payroll and go over it, I ask the third time and probably half the time I get a good referral."

So this is a little different than asking everyone for three referrals.  Cathy asked the same person for referrals three TIMES over a period of several weeks or longer.  They got to know her and felt comfortable by the third time she asked to them to deliver the valued name.

Does your type of sale offer the opportunity to see a prospect multiple times, enabling you to allow the to get to know you fairly well?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Asking for Three

I can't believe it is still being taught in this world of relationships.  But it is!

Many sales managers are still telling their sales people to ask each person they meet with for three referrals.  My guess is that for many it is not too successful.  Here's why!

If you've just met with someone, they really don't know you all that well and let's face it, you don't know them either.  And yet you are asking them to cough up friends and family.  They feel surprised and not in a good way, because they were not expecting this request at this time. Would you hand over your friends' names if the situation were reversed? 

Now I know in the sales world that if you do something long enough it eventually pays off.  So the manager is banking on that one person who gives three great names.  But there are probably 100 who give nothing.  And even worse, the sales person receives three names, just to get them to leave.  Those names now take up so much time following up because they are not very qualified.

Frustration hits and the sales person stops asking way before they get to that one great person.

Even with e-commerce a big part of our purchasing and selling today, we all read the reviews before we purchase.  We don't just blindly turn our money over to someone we don't know.  It's the same with asking for referrals.

Build a relationship and continue that relationship until you have earned the right to the names of that person's best clients or family. 

Tell us what works for you in gaining referrals.