What if Your Salespeople Stop Selling?

    Feeding FrenzyLarry Bailin is a talented internet marketer and a nationally sought keynote. Larry’s in his second edition of his book, “Mommy, Where Do Customers From” and enjoys continued success at his firm Single Throw located in Wall New Jersey. Well a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Larry to talk shop. The two of us sat across from one another and covered all the requisite mainstays like what portion of your mix should comprise PPC, how much of your social footprint should be automated (Larry says none and incidentally, I think he’s right) and the two of us agreed that Seth Godin is a keeper. But the typical talking points of our conversation, while enlightening and entertaining in general, didn’t move the needle. Don’t get me wrong; it’s fun to talk to other internet marketers – particularly those that the industry leans on as much as it does Larry. But no. The conversation was cool, but the majority of the time largely academic. The majority that is. You see, something fascinating did happen. Something was unearthed. A fortuitously excavated idea emerged from an otherwise casually enjoyable dialogue between two passionate internet marketers.

    So what was so gripping about our talk? What topic emerged that did, in this marketer’s opinion, move the proverbial needle?

    It was this: salesmanship. Specifically, how to disarm buyers when engaging them.

    Nothing special right? I mean who among us doesn’t understand that disarming buyers is critical to earning a customer’s confidence? None that I know. But Larry helped me stumble upon a model for appealing to buyers that, for me, called upon marketers and product makers to sell as much, if not more, than is expected of the sales team.

    Salespeople Are The Gods of Optimism

    It's an uphill climb...Salespeople have a tough job. We all know it. Probably the toughest of them all. I sure wouldn’t want to do what they do. They have to convince one fervent cynic after another to even speak with them. And getting something sold is a different matter entirely. Selling well takes a scientific understanding of the human condition. But Being great at it requires all that, plus the grace of a ballerina, the poise of a Super Bowl quarterback and the precision of a brain surgeon. This is why selling is often perceived as Herculean. Just ask any seasoned seller. They’ll tell yah: sales is not a vocation reserved for the weak. And it’s because of the nuance and complexities of the sales dance, that establishing trust with buyers is a salesperson’s toughest obstacle, because built-in to the meditation are equally heavy quantities of both skepticism and doubt.

    But to their credit, the ever-hopeful salesperson presses on, despite a century of data that tells them every day that 95 or better percent of the time, they’re wasting their time.

    Wow. Nearly 100%? Just wow!

    It’s Time Salespeople Get a Hand

    What if your salespeople weren’t the only ones selling? What if she wasn’t the only one attending the all those breakfast briefings, tradeshows and mixers? Not so novel you’re thinking, right? Salespeople, after all Scott, do travel to these events with product specialists and marketers. I know, I know. But let’s dig a bit deeper into the potential role a supporting cast should play in securing that sale for our valiant sales peeps.

    We’re bringing them, but are they helping?

    Ok so, what if – just what if – the salesperson wasn’t the salesperson?

    What if the product makers were also the marketers, were also the salespeople? What if the capacity to be each of these things with equal talent and acumen resided within the same people? I told Larry that for reasons I hadn’t yet fully made a case study of, I never seem to come off appearing like the salesman toward buyers, although I’m always selling my stuff.

    Says Larry, “it’s because you’re not the salesman, Scott. Someone else is the salesman. You’re just Scott. A nice guy with great ideas.”

    And the choir erupted in sonic ecstasy! And birds softly propped on slate roofs everywhere, all at once, scattered in a flurry into the dewy fog of an early May sunrise!

    And there it was.

    “But Larry my brother, I am selling!”

    I am the salesman, the marketer and the product expert all at once. And I should be all these things if I want to help my sales folks make the sale. And because I am not actually the salesman after all, I get to say, “Hey buyer, I’m not the salesman.” And when I bring the salesman to meet the buyer, I get to say, “This is Jane. Jane’s the saleswoman. I’m Scott. I solve your problem.” This tag-team method of prospect engagement disarms the buyer. It tells the buyer that they’re not dealing with a pushy, pressure-fraught situation. It likewise tells buyers they’re dealing with a person who has their problems and isn’t driven by ulterior motives and thinly veiled sales agendas. I brought along Jane in case Jane being present comes in handy. Even the order of things is calming for the buyer. It’s me, then Jane. Me, then Jane.

    It’s been my experience that the buyer ultimately ends up saying to me,” Hi Scott. What’s your story?” And the sales process has begun.

    So next time you’re sales team is gearing up for the next big networking event, on or offline, get your product people, your marketing people and your sales people in the same room beforehand and talk about how the three of you can evolve your sales process to include a better way of captivating your buyers with a disarming packaging.

    Kudos Larry. Great talk.