Here’s what being a salesman means to me – Part 2
written by john c ashworth
One of the things I really love about being a salesperson is all the people time. All the connection. All of the potential that each new contact holds. For sales. For learning. For inspiration. For Friendship. And for that special blend of human connection that comes when two people meet, discuss their goals, their businesses, and the potential to help each other, and then decide to make a deal that is serendipitous for both.
This potential for connection and friendship is one of the things I miss most about my personal training and coaching business. Traveling to people’s homes for an intimate hour of focus on self-improvement is a terrific way to spend your days. A terrific way to build a really good life.
Of course, I approach all of my work as a salesman in this manner. It is just that some situations lend themselves a little more seductively to those deeper and more meaningful relationships. In addition, you can do things your own way when you’re running your own business. I’ve since moved on from my own business and if there’s one thing I really miss about it’s the ability to do exactly what needs to be done right now in order to build these kind of powerful, meaningful, and hyper-connected relationships with people.
This morning, I was up reading early as I almost always am and I came across something that touched this topic and this idea in a way that both inspired me, and reinforced this idea. I wanted to make sure and share it with you.
When you don’t invest in your prospect and customer relationships in this manner, over time, you become commoditized. You become the same as every other salesman and business out there. You are boring. You are uninteresting. You are lame. You are not interesting enough for anyone to really want to know more about you, why you do what you do, and how that can help and serve both your potential and current customers.
When you choose not to invest in these relationships in this way, you will find that over time, especially when it comes to your customers, positive feelings begin to erode, and they begin to look elsewhere for other solutions to their problems. In addition, even if they are not looking yet, they absolutely will and you will begin to find them poached by other, cheaper, and more interesting (primarily as a funciton of being newer to them) options. You will lose them. And if you let this go on too long, you will suddenly find yourself in a dire predicament and wondering what in the heck is happening to your business.
Eventually you will discover that you either stopped connecting or you never really connected in the first place. Either way, It won’t matter. You’ll be running in the thick sand down the beach toward that last jetty. Hoping to get around it and back to safety before the tide comes in.
Most businesses and business owners are much more willing to invest much more in their new customers than they are in the cultivation and strength of existing ones. This is a big mistake. This is silly math. Ignorant. Foolish. Lazy. Bad business.
Direct-response marketing, a system of sales and marketing that I’ve studied for more than two decades and which I continue to work toward mastery, lends itself perfectly to building this kind of relationship with your customers and prospects. The problem is that most don’t understand it at all. Most only see it only as a graceless, unfeeling, annoying and efficient way to make a sale. Worse, they might not even know what it is.
The truth is that it is in fact a very efficient way to make a sale; and to build incredibly strong bonds with your customers and prospects. Dig down just a little deeper and you’ll discover that it’s a whole lot more than that, and that it holds far more potential for your career, your business and your life than almost any other strategy you have the opportunity to implement in your small business.
Need an example or an idea that will help you understand this idea?
Dig down a even deeper into your products and services and reveal to me what business are you really in? What emotional triggers create your sales? What important problems are you solving with your products and services and how does your passion for this feed your desire to find potential customers, make a sale, and build a powerful relationship that can last a lifetime?
When you begin to think about your business in this way, you should also begin to see how many real opportunities you have each and every day to cultivate these connections and sales through your on-going and prolific communication with prospects and customers. And once you begin to make this connection, and you have happy customers with whom to build those relationships, you will also begin to see how powerful a regular printed newsletter could be, for example. Delivered personally to your customers’ mailbox and full of stories, expertise, and life-altering information that builds a stronger and stronger affinity to you, your products and services, and your brand.
The printed newsletter is just one of so many examples. I use it here because so few are committed to producing one. Or at the very least, producing a regular blog or email newsletter that will begin to help you accomplish the same things.
So why do so few understand this? Why are so few unaware of this method? Why do so few implement such a powerful business changing philosophy?
Direct-response marketing is the gritty blue collar factory worker with dirt under his finger nails, a little grease on his collar, and a lunch pale that looks like an old mailbox that he carries with him every day religiously because he’s devoted not only to his work, no matter how brutal, physical and demanding, but also to the nourishment he needs to feed himself so that he can feed his employer, his family, his loyal co-workers, and the American Dream.
Direct-response is NOT Madison Avenue. It is Main Street downtown. Where you eat breakfast at the same place every morning, not because the food is spectacular. You can get scrambeled eggs, toast, and a mediocre cup of coffee anywhere. What you can’t get anywhere is the true and lasting connections you build with the waitress, the cook and the owner who is committed to taking care of you because he loves you and makes you feel loved and earnestly does everything he can to ensure that he never loses touch with you.
I don’t go looking for customers to make sales. I work to make sales to get a customer, because once I make that sale, I’m fully aware and extremely grateful for how powerful and important that relationship, that friendship and that connection can become for both of us over time.
I look forward to our next conversation. Who knows what amazing places it might lead us 🙂