Sales professionals should never say never. I’ll repeat that: Never say never. (For instance, never say “oh, I’ll never try Spiro.” Because if you want to make more money, then you should download Spiro now!)
I got called out for saying “never leave voicemails” by a reader who’s had a lot of positive results from voicemails – he even wrote a blog response about it, which you can read here. I’m happy for him, but I still don’t like them. As a concession, I’ll say that nothing fails or succeeds 100 percent of the time and sales guys should ALWAYS be trying something new.
The point he brings up is that salespeople should always be trying new (and old) things and if anyone says “never do x,” don’t listen to them. Point taken and I whole-heartedly agree.
Salespeople have generally stopped doing direct mail, for example. When was the last time you tried to reach a prospect by mail? If you were born after 1983, probably never. But, guess what, it’s so old, it’s new again. Prospects and customers don’t expect it when they receive written correspondence or a nice old gift in the mail by Pony Express, it’s a novelty.
Here’s an example of old school done right: My friends at Play Bigger, a West Coast tech startup consultancy, wanted to have a marketing campaign that would take people by surprise, but the digital space was already so saturated. What would get people’s attention?
Direct. Fucking. Mail.
Play Bigger created a compelling direct mail piece with insane targeting and tailored to a T. It was original, unexpected, and sincere. Needless to say, they got a fantastic response.
Direct mail can still be effective if done right. Make sure you’re using it under the right circumstance and be creative! There’s plenty of inspiration out there on the web, including ideas like balloon in a box, trendy stickers, and working record players made out of cardboard.
Thank You Notes
I’m a big fan of thank you gestures as a way to recap your value proposition and make a lasting impression on your prospect. It shows class and an appreciation for values that are rare these days. I’ve sent gift baskets to clients a number of times, as well as other small unexpected treats, such artisan scones I bought from our prospect’s favorite bakery in Dublin.
A simple hand-written thank you note can also have a big impact. Check out these stories about how much of an impression personalized thank you notes left for these sellers.
Texting is still new territory for most sales guys, but for the upcoming generation, it’s the communication mode of choice. We took a poll a while back on our blog and found that 20 percent of respondents said “Yes” they text, and 37 percent said they text “very occasionally.”
Many are concerned that texting comes across as overly-casual and will be viewed negatively by prospects. It still might be risky, but there are ways that it can be a good tool to communicate things between the lines: it could be used to escalate the sense of urgency or confront a prospect who’s been giving you the cold shoulder; or even when you’re running late (or early) for a meeting.
When it comes to sales, I have my personal preferences and things that have been proven to work and not work in my experience – but a sales guy should never say never. Always be experimenting, shake it up, and find the new (or old) angle that will give you the edge.
Tina Fey photo courtesy of NBC.