We all have people in our lives whose contact we welcome,
and those whose contact we consider unwelcome.
At the "welcome" end of the spectrum are our family and friends. At the "unwelcome"
end of the spectrum are telemarketers and spammers. The former we're eager to interact with; the
latter we detest and try our best to avoid or get rid of. Then there's everyone in between.
Just as you have these visceral reactions to those who reach
out to you, so too do those to whom you yourself reach out. How do the people upon whom you rely for your
success - prospects, customers, strategic partners, coworkers, networking
relationships - react when your name
pops up on their caller IDs, or shows up in their in-boxes? Is their reaction a welcoming and favorable one,
or a negative one - one of annoyance, irritation, or even disgust? Or simply indifference?
If you're to be successful in sales, you need to successfully
engage the people whom you consider important. One key to doing so is to make sure you fall
into their "welcome/look forward to hearing from" category, and not the
"unwelcome/ dread hearing from" category, or the "I don't care one way or the
other if I hear from" category.
How do you do this?
Begin by considering that whenever someone interacts with
you, that person is forming an impression of you.
How that impression is formed depends on a number of factors, some
overt, many subtle. The overt
factors include such considerations as, "Is this person polite and respectful, or
overbearing and aggressive?" "Does this person provide value when
reaching out to me, or does he or she waste my time by just "checking in?". "Do I feel that this person has my best
interests in mind, or is he or she just trying to sell me something?" The more subtle factors include "Do I like
this person?", "Do I feel this person is honorable
and trustworthy?", and "Do I look forward to hearing from this person, or do I dread
it?" After the first couple of interactions,
the sight or sound of your name will begin to cause one of three reactions: an instantaneous positive one, an instantaneous negative one,
or none at all.
So now that you understand why it's important to create
positive associations with your name in the minds of the people with whom you want to connect, here
are some examples of how:
- Have an other-focused goal
for your planned contact. It might
be to recognize an accomplishment, share an idea, or send a relevant
article. This establishes you in their minds as a desirable contact.
- When calling prospects, ask
them open-ended questions, listen more than you speak, empathize with
whatever they're saying, demonstrate genuine concern, and - if appropriate - suggest a solution, whether or not it's one your offering can solve.
- Don't be a one-trick pony. Reinforce your credibility, image, and value by "drip marketing" - providing value not just once, but occasionally. This keeps you on people's radar, and in a positive way.
These ideas apply not only to people outside your organization,
but also to people within it. You don't want to be the coworker whom people in the operations department dread hearing from,
because every single contact initiated by you is to report a problem,
or to complain about something. You'll never get them to go the extra mile for you of you are.
Make 3 lists: The
first is of people to whom, when you hear or see their names, you instinctively
react positively ("I'm glad to hear from this person). The second is of people to whom, when you hear or
see their names, you instinctively react negatively ("Uggh, it's him again!"). Next to each name, write why you
feel the way you do when that person contacts you. Then review the list, looking for patterns -
what turns you off, or what impresses you. The third list is of people - both outside and within your
organization - whose instinctive reaction when they hear or see your name you want to be favorable. Next to each
name, indicate either "Yes" or "No" if you sense that is in fact how they react when they hear or see your name. For
all the "No"s, use the comments you made in the first two lists to adjust how you
interact with these people. You'll soon find more receptive people on the other end of the phone, and faster - and more favorable replies - to your e-mails.
Click here to receive a template with which to complete this exercise.