un·for·get·ta·ble adj. -Earning a permanent place in the memory; memorable
Years ago I read a great cartoon that showed a dog owner talking to his dog. The cartoon was about what the owner was saying to the dog and what the dog actually heard. The dog had just made a mess of the owner’s kitchen and the owner is letting the dog have it. “Rover, how many time have I told you? The kitchen is not your play area. This is where I cook and it must be clean. Bad dog Rover, bad dog!” This is what the dog heard, “Rover, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah Rover, blah blah!”
I thought of this cartoon recently during a conversation I was having with a friend who is a VP of Sales for a successful technology company in Austin, TX. I was asking him about his experience in sales and how he approaches his prospects, and what he does that makes him successful. He said that when he first started out in sales his approach to selling was not unlike every other salesman, cold call enough prospects, make your pitch, ask for the appointment, send product literature, make the appointment, demonstrate the features, functions and benefits of your product/service and go for the close. “I was successful, but it was purely a numbers game,” he said. “I knew that if I got in front of enough decision makers, I would close a certain number of deals, and make money for my company and myself. It was more about me and my company than it was about the customer and his/her problems.”
He went on to say that at some point in his career, he realized that he was no different from other successful salesmen and that his company and products/services although good, were not that much different from his competition. He could imagine that when he was talking to his prospects, they were not always hearing everything that he was saying. He sounded too much like every one else. His success had more to do with being at the right place at the right time with a solution that was acceptable and affordable to his prospects. There was no big differentiator.
At some point he decided to change, to approach each prospect with one goal in mind, to be Unforgettable. Since then he has achieved greater success with his current company, increased sales, increased profit margin and hired and trained a very successful sales force. But more importantly, each and every prospect and customer remembers him, he brings something to the relationship that no other sales person brings, he brings ideas.
Our conversation ended, much too soon and my friend was unwilling to give me the process that he goes through when he has an appointment with a decision maker. He is my friend, but he is also a successful salesperson who doesn’t want to reveal all of his secrets. I have an idea of what his process is and I think it would look something like the 10 Step Checklist for a C-level Appointment proposed by Barbara Geraghty in her best selling book, Visionary Selling.
Here is the check list.
So, when you have a conversation with your prospects or customers is it similar to the owner/dog conversation from the cartoon or is what you have to say so different that your customer hears every word? Are you Unforgettable?
As for me, I am going to take my dogs in to the vet to have there ears checked. I would hate to think that all that they hear when I speak to them is their names and a bunch of ‘blah blah blah blah”.
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