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Business to Business Online Expos


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No internet allowed; in the internet department

internetdeptI used to be the Sales Director of the Internet Department at a car dealership. Just to clarify, the Internet Department in the auto-biz is a division of the sales force who specifically serve web clients that have been shopping through the internet. From referrals by buying companies to lead sources, email, text, etc., this team spends the majority of their days in front of a monitor. These employees are all over the digital marketplace chasing down customers.

One day, our genius [sarcastic] General Manager decided that he was going to lock down everyone’s computers to only include a few scattered links that they used every day for their email, customer management program and most pages associated with our brand. The rest of the internet–off limits.

ASININE

The prospects they talk to on the phone every day have full access to all their shopping options in a variety of places on the web. On the other hand, the sales team that needed to be competitive and informed about their competition was unable to stay efficient because a GM was worried someone was reading FoxNews.com too often?

Handicapping his staff, the department started seeing a consistent decline in monthly numbers. Captain Power-trip blamed other factors but truth be told, the new policy was not very smart.

The IT department had access to every key stroke the people made. If they were concerned about where their ‘internet employees’ were surfing, they could have run a report to see for themselves and determine if corrective action was needed. But to treat them like small children and take away tools they need to be successful is just ridiculous.

One member of upper management tried to defend the GM by saying, “He probably is trying to keep people off of Facebook and focused on their job.” Okay, smarty-pants, there’s just one problem with that theory. Social Media is an incredible way of building your customer base. When I was an internet salesman, 4-6 cars I sold per month were a direct result of frequent posting on these sites.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Do not take away your team’s access to social media!

Even if they don’t use it for work, a short amount of friendly interaction on Facebook can be beneficial to the overall production. Here’s the bottom line–they’re gonna do it anyway. Most of your employees have smart phones and checking their posts is part of their hour to hour lives.

Regulate it.  Give them a time window when they are allowed to take social media breaks.

Use it to your advantage. If your company generates revenue from the public, come up with contests and promotions that encourages staff to reach out to their power circle on Facebook and generate some new business.

You’ll keep your team happy and productive.

Go get ’em Tiger!


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Just Ask for the Sale

justaskToday’s ditty is gonna be short and sweet.

ASK FOR THE SALE

Too many sales people work on their pitch and master their craft only to severely fail and drop the ball by missing the most important step in the process.

The boldness of actually asking something like this:

“Assuming all the numbers are agreeable is it fair to say that I can expect to earn your business today?”

Oh my gosh! What if they say, “No”???

Then you know where you stand and you become a salesperson and help them change their mind.

No games, no mystery…just the facts. When they decline to do business with you it’s time to immediately ask them why not. See where your presentation failed and do your best to recover.

Don’t be afraid. That bold approach sometimes forces an unsure customer to move forward.

Go get ’em Tiger!


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Turn ‘Cold Calls’ into ‘Connect Calls’

coldcallI don’t think I ever met a salesman that enjoyed making cold calls. In fact, it’s usually the entry level gig to any major sales position with a company.

I’m a salesman. I’m not gonna lie. Cold calling sucks. However, the name Cold Call doesn’t mean that you have to be cold with the person you’re speaking with. Get off the script and find a way to connect. A first time phone chat has a much better chance of converting into a future deal if the focus is on the company and person you’re calling.

Meaning, don’t call to promote your product, call them to fill a need [with the help of your product]!

Lew Hoff, President of Bartizan Mobile Apps wrote a recent piece about this on TSNN. Hoff recommends using their profiles on social media as a tool. “If you use Linkedin and Twitter your cold calls don’t have to feel like cold calls because you know something about them and can possibly relate on a human level. The prospect could be a neighbor, went to the same school, have the same hobby. Be open with the people when you call about having looked at their LinkedIn profiles. It helps break the ice. Plus it shows you’ve gone to more trouble than 90% of the other salespeople who call them every day.”

Great points, read the full story here.

Lew says Cold Calls like this are considered Connect Calls. And that makes perfect sense because you are making a connection early which dramatically improves your chances of closing the deal.

Go get ’em Tiger!

 


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Today’s Companies Employ A lot of Opera Singers; ‘Me Me Me Me Me Me’

mememeFrom the President of the company all the way down to the retail sales associate, every company has their share of opera singers.  If you listen closely, you’ll hear them warming up, “me me me me me me me me me me!”

And that’s one of the largest problems with businesses today, they’re all about themselves and instant gratification selling.

Instant Gratification Sales

The car business is one of the most obvious businesses that operate with a ‘sell now and don’t be concerned about the future’ approach. These dealerships actually train their people to hold on to customer’s ankles, lie, spit, beg and steal in order to make them buy something right then and there. And it’s not an unwritten rule. Tactics that most of us consider “sleazy” are actually written in the sales handbook.

At the dealership I used to work at, the General Manager once pondered in a management meeting why lease conversions were down. Meaning, why were people returning their cars and not getting into new lease agreements? The answer was simple. The customer that your company completely screwed over from 2 or 3 years ago didn’t develop amnesia. They remembered the painstaking process your sales team put them through and couldn’t wait to give their business to someone else at the end of their term.

Unfortunately, these tactics have spilled over into all industries. The culture of the business nation today is self serving and focused on immediate results, without considering long term affects.

[Recommended Reading: The Impulse Society–America in the Age of Instant Gratification]

If you put this topic in a search engine, you will find a lot of organizations, authors and advisers who will actually support the instant gratification sales process. Makes no sense to me.

Yes, I want the sale now. Yes, I want to meet monthly goals. Yes, I want to beat my competition. Yes, I want my company to grow. But I don’t want to have a short term victory, I want a lifetime victory.

When I worked in the car biz, one of the reasons that I was told not to let anyone leave is because 9 out of 10 who go, never come back. And generally, this was a legitimate statistic because I watched it unfold before my very eyes with other sales people at the dealership. Notice how I said “with other sales people”.

When it came to customers that I let leave to ‘think about it’, I had an unprecedented return rate [“Be-Back” as they called it] of 60-70%. Managers and salespeople alike couldn’t believe it and constantly asked me what my secret was.

“It’s simple,” I would say. “I didn’t annoy them with skeevey tactics that are obviously intended to trick them into a rapid decision.”

People aren’t dumb. Yet, frequently sales people and executives treat them like they are because they may be unfamiliar with ‘how it works’. What they don’t consider is, today the truth is one Google search away and two thirds of the folks you meet are going to try to verify the stuff your shoveling. If that’s the case, you better be shoveling sparkly soft fairy dust and not that stinky stuff. Cause once you’re exposed, you may still get the sale, but they’ll never forget that you were a shark.

If you’re an ‘all about now’ sales peep, you may sleep fine at night knowing that you annoyed the customer, so long as you got the sale. But I’m telling you that this mindset is a huge mistake. You have to think about the future, even if it means that you don’t get the sale now.

Giving a customer an incredible experience with integrity, good service, honest assessments and a no pressure approach will make them advocates of your business. Not only will they do business with you now [or in the near future], they will tell everyone they know about you. It’s a weird thing with humans. We love to brag about knowing a guy. [“I got a guy”] However, on the other hand, as humans, we also love to tell our friends to stay away from people that didn’t do us right. [“Don’t go there, they ripped me off”]

I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you about your future if you take the Instant Gratifications Sales approach. You may have a nice run, but you won’t have longevity. Make a commitment to giving people good service, even if it costs you the sale, and you will be paid back 100 fold in due time.


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Should I Send My Customers A Survey?

5starI was reading a sales message board recently and someone was asking if they should send out satisfaction surveys to their customers.

The problem with message boards is any yah-hoo can respond and most of the replies were pretty weak in my opinion. Advice was being posted from folks that really sounded like they didn’t know what they were talking about and just wanted to say something for the sake of saying something.

So, let me answer it here.

“YES!”

Always send a 5 star survey to ALL of your customers. It serves two purposes.

1–If the survey comes back with 4 or 5 stars, you can proudly post it on your website, in your lobby, flyers, etc.

“See what people are saying about us!”

2–If the survey comes back with 3 stars or less, now you know exactly how your customer feels and you can follow up with them to see if you can repair their satisfaction level.

Remember, most customers ‘buy and go’ without ever telling you how they feel. In fact, you usually only know how customers like your services based on how good of a month that you’re having.

HOT TIP

With all the 4 and 5 star responses that you receive, make sure to have a templated email or direct website link ready that you can forward to them. This additional communication tool should be linked to Yelp! and other well known survey services that consumers look at when they are making buying decisions. If a customer is bragging about you in your in-house survey, most of them will be happy to continue the love on a public site.

Just ask. If you gave them great service, they’ll happily go to work for you!

Surveys are great tools for a business! Do it! 🙂


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Secret: You’re Not the First Salesperson They Met

handshakeI know this may come as a surprise to some of you, but the prospects you contact, have probably met other sales people before. They have probably been pitched, presented and smooshed about similar products and services.

I know, I know, that’s a little heartbreaking because you thought the canned sales process that you learned from a company handbook was gonna be the exact formula you needed to see your picture on the wallboard behind the reception desk at ABC Contractors.

Sorry to burst your bubble but I’m here to encourage you to think outside the box. Take your game to a higher level by incorporating your personality and some creativity in the mix. Don’t fight your way tooth and nail to a pitch appointment and then blow it by presenting the prospect with the same old sales pitch that they’ve seen over and over again. Shock, awe, and wow them.

When I was 23 years old, I decided I was going to start an advertising agency. I didn’t know anything about the advertising business but as a performer, voice over artist and singer, I knew how to make commercials and jingles.

I never consulted anyone about my business decision and there really wasn’t much of an internet back then to look up any tips or blog postings about it, so I flew completely blind.

I was living in Santa Barbara at the time and one day, I hit the streets and started walking into restaurants around town, just to grab a flyer or to-go menu. After I collected the material I was looking for, I went home and produced full blown :30 and :60 second radio commercials featuring these businesses. I had a different style with my commercials, mostly humorous and some very in-your-face.

I then contacted all the local radio stations and asked for their rate sheets, explaining that I was a new agency in town and I would be bringing them business. Sales managers were all very cooperative and happy to help.

As soon as I marked up the spot rates and printed out some advertising contracts, I took a boom-box and all the cassettes I made [back then we had these odd shaped things called ‘tapes’–Google it], and I re-visited all of the businesses that I had made the commercials for. I dressed nice, but not in a suit. I asked for the owner or manager, shook their hand and hit “play” on the machine.

I had a 100% selling success rate. There was not one business that didn’t move forward in an advertising campaign with my agency.

The radio stations loved me. I was bringing them so much business that one company finally asked me to host my own show on their station. That later led to me having a career in radio so I let my business fade, but had I stayed with it, I know it would have grown tremendously.

Why was I so successful?

I came up with something different. Once they heard their name in lights, they couldn’t say no.  People love to be in the spotlight [if they only knew about ‘selfies’ back then].  But it’s deeper than that. Here’s a guy that walks in off the street with something they can grab a hold of. Something tangible. I didn’t walk in wearing a sales-suit with a bunch of graphs on a piece of paper, touting all kinds of padded statistics. I handed them something they could experience for themselves.

The quality of the commercials and the approach was so good, they didn’t even care what radio station I placed them on. They trusted my judgment. Then when the commercials brought results, they kept reordering more blocks of advertising.

One customer actually called me after a few months of advertising and said, “hey, I think we’re gonna have to tone down the commercials a little. This last one you did, some lady complained to me that it really bothered her.”

“Where was she when she complained,” I asked him.

“She was in line ordering food.” He responded.

“Do you still want to change our approach?” I asked.

Whatever industry your in, there’s always a creative game plan you can put together to stand out among your competitors.

When I sold cars, I walked out to greet customers on the lot and began by saying, “Hi my name is Wayne and I hate car salesman”.  No one expected that and it brought their guard down.

When I sold AFLAC insurance, I didn’t just pitch the payouts a customer could get, I showed a breakdown of what one of my family members who fought a long bout of cancer would have been paid if she had AFLAC. I said, “If I was working here sooner, she would have been covered and been paid $30,000+”

You get the idea. Now go do it. Put yourself in your prospects seat. What part of your sales process would annoy or alienate you if you were pitching yourself? Remove it and come up with something fresh…and go make some money dang it! 🙂

 

 


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The Macy’s & Gimbel’s Policy Works

macysgimbelsAs humans, we’re pretty competitive by nature. Not just when we play sports or fight with our siblings growing up, we’re also very competitive in business. Day in and day out we are plotting and planning the best ways to beat the competition in our industry.

When I was a kid, every year just after Thanksgiving, I always looked forward to watching the classic movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” with Natalie Wood. The folks over there in Hollywood did a decent remake of the movie in the 90s, but I love the black and white classic best.

As a child, I’m sure what I loved most about the film was all the fantasy of the real Santa Claus playing the part of department store Santa and how they proved he was real in a courtroom of non-believers. However, something else in that film stuck with me for many years–The Macy’s & Gimbel’s Policy.

In the movie, the man that Macy’s hired to play Santa, sent parents over to their direct competition, Gimbel’s, if Macy’s didn’t stock an item that they were looking for. You can imagine the uproar these actions started within the company, sending precious customers straight to their competition.

As you would expect, Kris Kringle was about to be fired, until something amazing happened. The public was so impressed with Macy’s appearance of genuine care for their customer’s needs, business boomed through the roof. Macy’s came across as a company who puts the people first and it greatly benefited them.

Now you can say “that’s only a movie” but I’m here to tell you, a similar policy or stance in everyday business works as well. I’m not telling to you send customers to your competition if you’re simply out of stock and need to buy a little time to replenish. I’m not telling you to teach your staff to back away from a “product switch” if there’s an opportunity for them to be sales people instead of order takers. At the end of the day, there are quotas to be met and bills to pay.

What I am saying is, people are armed with smartphones, tablets, apps, computers and every tool they need to be aware that you ain’t the only game in town. So don’t act like you have to do whatever it takes to sell them at that moment in fear that they may find a better deal elsewhere. Give them the better deal now. If you can’t, then give them a better reason to buy from you. But don’t try to earn their business by putting your foes down, criticizing or bad mouthing them. People are watching you and listening to every word you say. Trash talkin’ other companies is a turn off and it may send someone directly to them.

When I sold Ford automobiles and trucks, people constantly came in, went through the demo process and then said, “I don’t know…I like this car, but I’m think I’m going to buy a…” [insert brand name here]. When you spend 30-60 minutes showing someone all the features of a car, taking them on test drives and really pouring your passion into your brand, it kinda stings when a potential customer tells you they are probably going somewhere else. Especially when the car they said they want to buy is far less superior in quality, design, features, etc.

What did I do?

I made sure I knew all the features of the other cars in my competition circle so that I knew how my cars compared to them. And when I spoke about the other brand, I never put them down.

“Honda makes a great car, no doubt about it,” I would say. “If you plan on keeping the car for a long time, Honda will last and give you a great life with minimum maintenance.”

I had a manager once yell at me for that kind of advice. But it’s the truth. What I am supposed to do, lie and say the car is a piece of junk? I’m not that kind of person. I sell truth with truth.

“Let me ask you a question,” I would continue. “If price wasn’t an option and both cars were made by the same manufacturer, which one is nicer by design, more comfortable and has better features?”

9 out of 10 times the answer was my car. Oh yea, I know Ford used to make horrible vehicles but times have changed. Detroit is pumping out some award winning sets of wheels over the last few years.

By asking this question and getting the customer to choose my car, now I know the only thing holding back the sale is price or brand name. That’s easy to overcome by just building value of my product, not by trashing another brand.

And customers appreciate it when you respect other brands–because they may like these other brands. You trashing brands they like makes them feel like you’re trashing them.

Here’s an idea. Why not learn about your competition and see if there’s anything they offer that could enhance the products or services that you sell? In other words, maybe share a customer.

If you don’t have any product that work for a given person, send them to the competition knowing that you may get nothing out of it. Most of the time, that kind of service, either convinces a customer to do business with you at some time down the road, helps change their mind back to doing business with you now or it gives them reason to recommend you to others.

I had dozens of referral customers that came to me from people that I never sold a car to.  They sent their friends and family to me because even when they didn’t buy a car off of me, I treated them with respect and appreciation. People want that kind of service for the people they care about.

When someone told me they were buying from someone else, I even went so far as to say, “hey, when you’re over there negotiating that other brand, call me before you sign so I can help make sure they’re not taking advantage of you.” I offered to help them buy another brand. No, I’m not crazy.  That level of care for their needs is the reason I never had a bad month. It’s the reason I was constantly promoted. It’s the reason I still get calls well after I left the company from people that want to buy more cars off of me.

Send them to Gimbel’s.  You will prosper greatly from it.


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The Salesman That Couldn’t Lie

usedcars

Kurt Russell in Used Cars [1980]

Once upon a time, there was a car salesman that couldn’t lie.

At least this is what he told all the customers who came into his dealership.

None of them believed him.

The End


Isn’t that sad?  I mean, it’s funny, but in a sad way.  Especially because it’s a true story.

That’s right. The car salesman was me. I really was completely, 100% honest with my customers.  I was so transparent to my customers that they almost rarely believed it.

Car salesmen have gotten such a [deservingly] bad rap that it’s almost impossible to get passed the stereotypes.  Not just with the public. I struggled to gain trust from friends who know me and my integrity. For some reason, once they came into the sleazy dealership environment, they looked at me differently, until I proved to them that I was completely on the level.

Staying away from dishonesty as a sales person isn’t easy either. Most companies actually train their sales team with exaggerated info, padded stats, tricks, traps and cheats to ‘get the sale’.  Many of these companies have scripted their process so strictly that the sales person is advised that they may not stray away from it.

When I interviewed for the job with a local Ford franchise, the most important point I made with the manager at the time was, “I won’t lie”.

His response was great and made me feel comfortable.  “You don’t need to lie,” he said. “Just show them the car and be passionate about it and the car will do the sales work for you.”

I liked that response. I took the job.  I sold 9 cars in my first two weeks on the job. [Just to give you an idea, a decent salesman at that location sold 10-12 cars per month.] After that, I averaged 16-18 cars per month, winning salesman of the month multiple times and quickly promoted to “Closer/Assistant Manager” and then “Internet Sales Director”.

What was my secret to success?

My commitment to honesty.

I stayed true to being true because I made a point to actually have genuine care for my customers.  I didn’t just sell them a car, I built a relationship with them–before, during and after the sale.

I did whatever it took to make them feel comfortable and satisfied with my service.

  • I got them drinks or food while they waited to go into sign their contracts.
  • I made sure they got a great teaching on all the features of the car.
  • I followed up with them all the time after the sale and offered them extras like free car washes.
  • Heck, I even counseled and prayed with many of them.

I was more then their salesman; I was their friend. And I never let them down by not standing behind something I said.

Integrity = Success in all businesses.

Don’t take short cuts or play games with your customers.  The truth will set you free.  You won’t always have the largest commissions in the company, but you’ll have more customers, more referrals and you’ll be able to sleep at night.

And if you’re really good, maybe you can re-write a more positive ending to the story of “The Salesman That Couldn’t Lie”.

Have a great day!

 


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Cyber Monday just two days after Selfie Saturday

selfiesaturdayWill the obvious attempts at new marketing hooks ever stop?  Okay wait, that was a bad question. Of course they won’t stop. New marketing hooks is what all businesses look for on a daily basis.  And they should never have to apologize for that. Maybe I should ask, will the cheesy–capitalize on the American public’s need for a sale day by inventing more nonsense events–ever stop?

Well…the answer is sure to be a “no” for that questions as well.  Why won’t they stop?  Because you keep coming!  The more you play into all the hype, the bigger and better all of these things become.

Don’t believe me? Look at Christmas.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love the bells, lights, reindeer and seasonal bliss that Christmas comes wtih. I like giving people a reminder that giving is better then receiving. Christmas, even though it’s commercial overload, reminds people to be at peace with each other and spread love.

Please note that I’m using the word Christmas. I have pointed that out so that you know were I went in the event that the authorities come and lock me up for composing dialogue with the name Christ in it. Some folks in our national peer circle may actually be horribly offended by me using the word that describes the holiday that was created in honor of Jesus. In any event, that’s a whole other post for another time.

Cyber Monday.

What’s next? Selfie Saturday? Tablet Tuesday? I’m really looking forward to Widget Wednesday.

When I first planned on writing this post, I gotta be honest, I came at it with a little bit of an annoyed attitude. I woke up to all the Cyber Monday talk and it rubbed me the wrong way. But as I began pondering on the subject, I realized from a business perspective, we need to do whatever it takes to get customers to buy from us. I mean come on–In a society where we applaud something that goes “viral”, we shouldn’t be so quick to be bothered by a new holiday of sorts that is catching some strength with the public.

And when I say “strength”, I mean, last year there were 131 million purchases on Cyber Monday.  This year they estimate a small fall in participation due to a better economy and less “sale deal” needs of the public [according to USA Today]. Even so, those are some pretty impressive numbers.

And while there are some traps and tricks on these days that sway the public into thinking everything for sale is a great deal [not true], there are some actual deals that could make the headaches of no parking and crowded stores somewhat worth it.  For instance, I never go out on Black Friday but my wife dragged me to get something for the kids for school and we saved almost $200. Seriously. Like, we had been putting this purchase off for months because we couldn’t justify the expense, but the Black Friday deal we found made it worth it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t get worked up about all these sale events.  Quite frankly, we are our own enemy in this arena.  We complain about things like this and then work in a manner that directly supports whatever it is we were hostile about.

  • We complain pro athletes make millions of dollars, yet we buy season tickets and memorabilia that keeps funding it.
  • We whine over the price of Broadway tickets or a concert with our favorite singer, yet there we are row F, seats 7 & 8.
  • We complain that an average coffee drink at Starbucks is $4-5 bucks, yet we moan about it while in line and getting ready to pay with our Starbucks refillable purchase card.

C’mon people.  This is who we are.  And I’m feeling pretty comfortable saying that this is all of us.  It’s our nature.

So cut Cyber Monday a break and go find a deal online that will put a smile on your face. Make your purchase from an American based company and help grow the economy.

And if I don’t talk to you sooner….Merry Christmas.


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Sales-Peeps Need to Be ‘Textually Active’

grandmaMy mother is 75 years old.  She lives across the country so aside from a couple visits per year, we have to communicate by other means.  On birthdays and holidays, I can always count on a nice Hallmark card or sentimental note by snail mail.  Once a week or so, I enjoy an actual verbal conversation by telephone.  On almost a daily basis, I can count on a cute comment or a “like” on Facebook.

The most common way my mother and I communicate, however, is by text messaging.

celltrend

Pew Research 2013 – Click photo to enlarge

So, the conclusion you should probably make is, if senior citizens are texting, your prospective clients are texting as well.  In fact, a 2014 Pew Research study cites that 81 percent of cell phone owners use their phones to text. And as you can probably imagine, those statistics are rising very quickly.

One of the biggest mistakes today’s sales force makes is ignoring the most popular form of communication with their clients.  Sure, just a few years ago, sending a text to a customer would risk an unfavorable response.  In the early stages of texting, the act was considered more of a personal communication.  But with text and data plans becoming more affordable, that opinion has drastically changed.  In fact, studies show that many retail consumers prefer a non-personal approach until they are ready to finalize their purchase.  Once in a while someone will take offense to receiving a text. Just apologize and go back to calling them.  Most of your customers, even high-end clients, will appreciate the text and chat with you in the same way they do with their friends and family.

As the Internet Sales Director [my former job] at the car dealership, in just one year’s time, I saw the phones in my department becoming more and more like paper weights. Customers literally said, “let’s talk by email and text and if I like what you’re offering, I’ll let you call me.”  At first I jumped on the ‘society is deteriorating’ band-wagon, but as time went on, I realized that my consumer habits are very similar. In this information age, I want to gather information first with no pressure or influence. Once I have a good idea of what it is I’m looking for, then I’ll speak to a salesman.

Look at it this way.  Texting is asynchronous [un-synced activity], low bandwidth [full attention not needed; answer when ready] and convenient in almost any situation [quiet and confidential].  Much like email, with less work.  Actual calling is synchronous [both people need to be there],  high bandwidth [full attention needed] and almost always inconvenient for one party [phone calls are loud and not private and consume relatively long periods of time]. In addition, you can have multiple conversations while texting, get more done with more parties and still hardly interrupt what you’re currently doing.

Yes, people lose the personal interaction, which I definitely agree is important, heck, the majority of a purchase is decided on a connection with the salesperson. But instead of running from this growing trend, find creative ways to set yourself apart within it.

Here’s a few tips to help you out:

  • Don’t use trendy tech-abbreviations and shortened grammar like “LMK” or “SMH” —  Aside from “LOL”, the majority of texters [currently] are not up to speed on the latest tech-abbreviations.  Text full words and sentences. In the old days, cheaper flip phones only gave texters 140 characters, but in today’s age, most people have SmartPhones.  If they don’t, most modern less expensive phones will break your long text up into pieces so they can read the whole thing.
  • Along the same lines, don’t send a sermon to your potential customers — They already get a bunch of hot air from their spouse, cousin Eddie and their boss.  The last thing they need is some failed author turned salesman sending them a book report.
  • Find your personality within the text — It’s difficult to be personable without speaking with your voice.  In fact, some times text comes across abrasive or rude if you’re not careful in the way you present your comments. Always make sure to set up a statement properly or follow something you said with a clarifying explanation.  Remember, not being in the same location, you don’t know what the other person is dealing with when they receive your message.  They may be in a peaceful place and able to receive your comments with full attention. They may be in a hectic, stressful environment that causes them to overact or misread what you wrote.

In a recent study, PsychologyToday.com said, “In a [in person] conversation, there is a physical climate as well as a psychological climate. When you are co-located with the person with whom you are speaking, you are sharing the same physical climate. You are in the same physical space pretty much experiencing the same environment.  However, you can share the same physical climate with a person and be in very different psychological climates.  Your life may be fairly stress-free at the moment, while the person with whom you are communicating may be operating with tight deadlines and a host of personal problems.  When you are co-located, you are more likely to recognize and respond to the psychological climate of the person as compared to when you can’t see or hear them.”

  • Stand out from all the other sales people that are texting — Give them you–you personally.  If the majority of a sales decision is made because they like you, then get them to like you.  Do something the other sales peeps aren’t doing. Send them a short media clip of you expressing yourself to them [see video below].  Show them your upbeat personality with a personalized clip just for them. Everyone else is just text, now you’re a real person. And tell them you really want them as a customer.
  •  Send photos or videos of the product —
    Plain and simple. Let them see that you have it and it’s ready for them to come pick up.
  • Don’t get too comfortable — Some sales folks forget sometimes that the person they are texting is a customer of the business they work for.  Just because you’re in a text conversation, you still need to remain professional.  Not to mention, if a conversation becomes too loose, that text record can be shown to employers who may not appreciate your methods and send you packing.

Here’s the bottom line.  If you’re not texting your customers, your competition is.

It’s 2014. Embrace it.