Recently I was meeting with a group of sales folks. They were asking me to develop a marketing campaign. I sat there listening to them trying to get a feel for what they had in mind and why. I asked the typical questions I always ask. I shared with them about the need to scrap generic sales and marketing messaging for a better approach. I spoke of ideal customer profiles, industry focus, segmentation, segmentation messaging, implicit segmentation, timing, placement, more timing, and deeper segmentation with the goal of right message to the right person at the right time for people who consented to be part of the relationship. It was then I asked the question that challenged them to begin to think differently.
I gave the sales manager a hypothetical task: that afternoon he had to go out and purchase a gift for his significant other.
What does he buy?
I sat back, watched, and tried not to laugh. He hemmed and hawed as he thought out loud. One of the sales guys was becoming pained watching this unfold and piped up with a suggestion: gift card! I took that option away; too generic; anyone can buy a gift card. The gift must be personal in nature. The sales manager eventually came up with a narrowed gift that would fit an upcoming need. I asked for specifics. He chuckled in his semi-defeat and said, “I see where you are going with this.”
I asked them to do something: stop selling.
I know asking salespeople to stop selling is crazy talk, but hear me out for a moment. Why do salespeople have such a bad reputation? And why is marketing quickly following the path to the bad reputation? When we (sales and marketing folks) focus on the close, we lose focus on what matters: service.
Recently I posted, “understanding the sales process isn’t that hard. You have to start thinking about them and forget about you. It’s really no different than finding the perfect Christmas gift for your significant other.” Can you imagine being the sales or marketing person not caring? I can. Don’t be that person. If your only goal in giving a gift is to not get in trouble, get out of trouble, or check a box on a holiday, the gift is self-serving. We can do better.
How to give the gift of service
Become an educator.
Be accessible, approachable, and a source of information to those you serve.
Be aware and concerned about their business needs over your own even if that means admitting you are not the right solution for their business.
Stop talking and begin listening fully. Listen to their stories and you will begin to know their story, their goals, and their business gaps.
Understand their timeline may not be yours. The right message at the right time to the right person builds trust. Trust builds relationships. Relationships build influence. To do any less sends the message, “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.”
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: The Gift of Service in Sales & Marketing
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