be a pal, not a HAL
Posted on 10 February 2011
Sales, like all other industries, is constantly changing. Technology has changed how people get pricing, locate, and even review, products. In short, everything is out there. This is great, but the bottom line is that people do business with those they know will treat them fairly and who go out of their way to provide an outstanding product or customer service. That’s the human equation. And no amount of SEO ranking can take away the importance of that in the long run.
I sold books for two years in college during my summers with the Southwestern Company. My father, the consummate salesman, told me that if I could make a sale from a cold call, I could do anything in life. In a lot of ways he was right! He also used to joke with me that I should put my head through the door, and not my foot, because then I could keep talking even when they slammed the door!
But the most important thing I learned during those summers was the criticality of the human interaction. Many feel sales is a numbers game. If I make ten calls and close one sale that means I have a conversion rate of 10%. Determine the number of sales I have to make to meet my goal and I can extrapolate the number of calls I have to make.
But what if I made two sales calls a day and closed both of them? That’s what I did. That means I can spend a lot more quality time with each customer. I spent hours at people’s houses. They cooked me meals, shared family photos, gave me kittens, and yes, bought my encyclopedia set. It was a great product, they liked me, and that made the sale happen.
I love technology because it allows me to begin to connect with a wider audience. But in the end, it’s all about how we personally interface with each other that defines the relationship, be it sales or otherwise.