As I re-read the title of this post, it somehow seems a little odd to be reminding sales people that sales is about people. We are in a people to people business, our job is to connect with people effectively.
In working with them, we tend to focus on their role in the organization and in a specific opportunity we are pursuing. For example, we may focus on Mary, the CIO, her priorities for providing information technology services within her organization. We present our solutions in the context of her priorities and goals for the organization, we stay very business focused, building a professional relationship. It’s critical, we have to do this to be successful.
Somehow, in the press of time, or in the spirit of being professional, we forget that we are dealing with people, human beings, not CIO’s, CEO’s, VP, Managers, Directors, or whatever the title is. We also forget that we’r not just account managers, business development managers, territory managers, sales people, but we’re also human beings. Each of us, whether we are buyers or sellers has personal goals and aspirations, we have things that we are passionate about. We have dreams, both personal and professional.
People by from people, people sell to people, most of what we do in business is people interacting with people. Somehow, it seems the more “human” we are the more we are able to understand and connect with each other. For example, I just got a note from “Bonnie,” she’s an executive with a large high technology company. I know she is passionate about photography, rescuing elephants—really a cool story, and raising money for the Susan G. Komen foundation. I know she and her husband are moving into their dream house–and they designed and built it. Bonnie is contacting me about some programs she wants to initiate with her company. I have a call from Sean, he’s a close friend and CEO of a mid sized technology company. Sean has recently taken up bicycling as a good way to keep fit. This past weekend, he and his wife were visiting their daughter at college–she’s great in cross country and they had an important competition on the weekend. Thursday, Sean and I will talk about his business strategy–we’ll spend a few minutes on the trip and his daughter’s race, I’ll ask how he’s doing on the bike—he and I are riding together soon. I know these things, not because I’m a supplier to them, but because I care about them as human beings.
Next week, I’m meeting with Gunther. I’ve not met him before, but we’ve had a couple of calls. I know a little about his career background and what his current business priorities are. I know he has a good sense of humor–after all he puts up with mee! I also know that he is active in his community, and suspect he is also a bicylclist. I’ll find out more when I see him next week.
My customers and prospects know about me. They know I’m an avid bicyclist and that I’ve coupled my bicycling with raising money for charity. I’ve “trained” many of my clients that I will come to them for support (donation) in a 100 + mile race I’m riding in a few weeks. A friend, a CEO of a company in Silicon Valley sent me a note last week to ride with him next year in a 400 mile ride for his favorite charity. My clients also know that I’m passionate about literacy and that every child can read, write, reason–and develop themselves to be competitive when they graduate from high school or college. Finally, all my clients know that I have an oddly bizarre sense of humor, love puns, and laugh at my own jokes (usually because no one else does).
I want to know my customers and prospects as people, as human beings. I want them to know me as a person. We all want this, not because we are looking to do a business transaction, but because we care about each other as people. We know we each have goals and aspirations, we each have vulnerabilities. We do this because we care about each other and our mutual success. They don’t always makes decisions for me, but I still care about them. Likewise, I work for their competitors or make decisions against what they are trying to sell me, but I know they still care for and respect me. I know we can talk honestly and open with each other. We can agree to disagree and still respect each other.
Business is about people working together. It’s about relationships, it’s about being human. Too often we forget that, it gets in the way of getting to know people and really contributing to them and their success. It gets in the way of their helping us be successful.
How are you doing in being human to your customers and prospects? Do you know their dreams and aspirations–professionally and personally? Do you know their passions? Do you care about them? Do they know who you are? Take the time to be human–you’ll be amazed at what it does for you and for your customers!
It’s easy to learn about your prospects and customers. There are great tools like LinkedIn and Facebook that you should be using. I always “Google” the names of the people I am talking to and meeting with. Before I meet them, I try to get to “know” them as much as possible.
I’m very excited about a new offering to help you do this, it”s called Intro Mojo, it’s a new company headed by my friend Daniel Waldschmidt. In one place, you can start to get to know your prospects and customers. You can get LinkedIn profiles, Twitter, other social media links. You can see their likes in music—I was surprised when Dan was showing me his profile—he really needs to get off that pop stuff and get to more indie rock and hip hop!
It’s a great tool and save so much time over the Google Search! You get everything in one spot. Go try it, tell Dan and his folks that I sent you: http://intromojo.go2jump.org/SHM
Try it out, tell me what you think!