Tag Archives: conversation

Who Convinced us to Trade MORE for MERRIER?

Parties…  You love going to them.  What’s even better — you love getting that late minute call to go crash your buddy’s friend’s pad to join in the “uninvited”  festivities.

You can’t have hosted a party more than once in the past two millenia without a buddy asked you if he could bring some other dudes to the event.

It goes down a little like this:

YOU: Hey, I am throwing a little party at my place tomorrow night.  You wanna swing by?

BUDDY: Awesome.  I’ll bring some beers.  By the way, do you mind if I invite the other guys?

YOU: Sure.  No worries.  The more the merrier…

What came of this?

I will tell you.  Good times were had by all!

You had more people show up.  Things got louder.  And you didn’t find yourself talking to only that one person in the corner all night.  There was more of everything.  It got crazier.  And people probably had fun.

Back in Virginia, our house got to be called “Schmidty City” because of the memorable happenings that went down.  (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stop that picture from floating around the interwebs of me wearing a pink tube-top…)

Let’s get serious for a second.  Especially as we think about closing out the year.

“MORE” works for parties — not for closing business deals.

For all the opposite reasons that chaos is the key to a great party, it’s the death of a business deal.

So avoid it…  Stop thinking that you are making progress toward closing that big deal because you have the amazing ability to fire off 3 gazillion HTML emails to only-slightly-less-then random Jigsaw contacts.

The only think you can chalk up to success is your tenacity for annoying other people.

Believe it or not, intimacy still matters in business.  The “merrier” part of the equation is most powerful — not the “more”.

So it might seem less than peachy to tell the “Big Cheese” that quantity isn’t your game, but that’s actually the truth.

Here’s a key pointer to help you keep your priorities straight:

Make sure you understand what the person on the other end of the deal thinks they are are getting out of the arrangement..

If you know that factoid and keep it top-of-mind as you work through your business deal, you will find yourself being much more successful.

As you go into 2010, keep an open mind about the idea of “edgy conversations” that I am spending more time defining.  More leads, more potential customers, more busyness — none of these is the answer.  You might find yourself sleeping fewer hours and running a more frenetic schedule, but you won’t find your revenue skyrocketing like you want it to.

Think “merrier”…  all the way to the bank!

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(Illogically) Help Me Be Your Customer

chokeThink through the mind of your customer… and ask yourself if you are “illogically” wooing your customer.  Are you doing what no one else will do to make them successful?  Are you working to guarantee that your customer hits a home run by working with you?

It’s not logical.  In fact, it doesn’t really make sense from a “nuts-and-bolts” perspective.

But like anything, when you swing the opposite direction, you get a better perspective.  Instead of being illogically helpful, let’s look at being illogically awful.  Let’s look at the bad emails we send and see how we can make them better.

The endless onslaught of crappy emails has accelerated.  It has gotten serious.  For some reason, crazy sales people who need to have a strong Q4 all decided that they need to mass email the world in the hopes that we will magically take an interest in their nonsensery.

There is no interest in a relationship or learning what might be important to you or me.  It’s all about their email and how they have access to an amazing service that we “can’t miss out on”.  I want to drag them into my office, throw them on the floor and let them know this simple fact that they are overlooking:

We have thoroughly enjoyed not “enjoying” your service; and if your current care of us is any indication of your future care, then we are best served to not be your customer….. ever — for the sake of our health.

It is such a horrible experience to get these emails.  It’s like a sudden nausea that has me tasting a little stomach acid in my mouth.  I feel sick but my head’s not warm.  I just don’t feel well after reading this chicanery.

I had one such illogically awful encounter earlier this month when I received the following email in my inbox…

Email1

Of course, I was more than a little surprised and then annoyed at the premise of the email. (In this case, “annoyed” is a code word for “enraged”).

  1. There is no mention of my name in this entire email (I am not totally sure if she sent this to the right person…)
  2. There is value statement (I can’t figure out what really sets Melissa apart as being worth my time…)
  3. There is no call to action (I am kind of confused as to what logical action Melissa expects from me…)
  4. There is way too much content (I immediately start skimming because it “appears long and boring…)
  5. There is different color font in the email (I start wondering “why” and if there’s a special reason…)

So I emailed Melissa back.  And yes, I was in a funk.  My time had been wasted.  My intelligence had been insulted.  I was upset with myself that I had even given Melissa time in my busy day.  I was irate and so I shared my thoughts:

Email2

I just asked Melissa why being “illogically awful” was a reason why I should care. And not to be outdone or undeterred she let me know.  She wasn’t trying to woo me as a customer.  She was throwing data at me and hoping that I might be interested.

AWFUL!

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A truly “illogically awful” experience.  Melissa clearly did not want me as a customer.

A lot of sales books tell you that you qualify and don’t take chances with customers — that you do exactly what Melissa did:

  • That you refine your questions to only work with prospects who have money and time…. you get then give…
  • That you only build a relationship once you see that your prospect has something “in it” for you…  you prioritize based on immediate perceived value…
  • That you trade enough negotiable points and win a deal without taking any risks…. you never appear vulnerable or genuine…
  • That you explain all your moves logically in a “I always win” matrix… you need to appear important and in control…

But let’s not belabor the illustration.  We can learn how to be “illogically helpful” by doing everything that Melissa failed to do.

  1. Be personal — Start the email by calling me my name – my first name and leave off the “mister”….
  2. Be brief — Keep it to 5 sentences max.  If you need to tell me more, don’t…
  3. Be thorough — Tell me something you know I don’t know… and convince me you’re bad-ass…
  4. Be creative — Leave me wanting to hear the rest of your idea…
  5. Be different — Remove any buzzwords and industry “gibberish” that make me tune you out…
  6. Be inspiring — Combine what you want from me with what I care about.  I might actually get involved…
  7. Be important — Leave me good contact details so I can return your call or email and add you to my address book…
  8. Be neat — Proof read your email to make sure it is grammatically “mostly correct”.  Bad punctuation is distracting…
  9. Be safe — Don’t go nuclear on a random idea until we have a relationship. (i.e. politics, religion, etc…)…
  10. Be vulnerable — Admit it if you want help.  If you claim to have it figured out and don’t I lose respect…
  11. Be About Me — Rewrite your email if there are more I‘s and me‘s than you‘s.  You are writing to me so make it about me…

And here is the kicker: If you follow all the traditional sales rules (like Melissa did) you might never really ever lose a big deal.  You’ll never be in a position to question whether you made the right decision.  You’ll never have to take risks….

But you’ll never have the illogic to support yourself landing big deals.

D is for Dialogue

A recent study conducted by the Shyness Clinic in Menlo Park, California, revealed that almost 90% of Americans label themselves as shy.  Further, the California Department of Consumer Affairs estimates that 25% of all purchases result in some customer dissatisfaction, yet fewer than 30% of people actually complain.  The rest are too shy or just don’t think it’ll help.

The fix is obvious — speak up!

Being more productive in sales is about having conversations with your clients.  The days of hard closes, premeditated 1-liners, and glib unpreparedness are over.  Have a conversation and the selling will automatically happen.

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Social Media is Crap

Sorry.  Can I just get that off my chest?  (of course I can, I write this thing)  🙂

Isn’t media by nature social?

  • a VHS tape when passed hand-to-hand is now social media….
  • a letter when delivered at the hand of the postman is suddenly social media….

Google wisdom says that media is: “the storage and transmission tools used to store and deliver information or data”.  Sounds pretty social to me.  How about you?

What do you think?

I know that we need to put a label on this interactive world we call life.  Why can’t we just call it a conversation.  Why can’t I have a conversation with you in a lot of different ways where Facebook, LinkedIn, BrightKite, Twitter, and WordPress are all channels to keep us talking — not labeled platforms.

Aren’t you tired of the labels?  Of the nonsense around how important this idea of social media is?

Why can’t we just talk and see where we fit together…  Maybe I am losing my mind, but it seems like having meaningful conversations makes the most sense.

——-

By the way, check out this incredible discusion by Fred Wilson at #140Conf about Twitter and the monetization of social media:

[blip.tv ?posts_id=2260233&dest=-1]

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