Listen to this story
By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report.
Ouch! Just the headline in an article appearing on Medium.com today was enough to make any salesperson cringe.
Written by Tim Denning for The Startup, the article noted that sales leads are the lifeblood of any business, which is why firms treat them as a valuable resource.
However, he notes, businesses have it all wrong.
“They think they’re selling products or services that magically turn into revenue and light up accounting software with lots of green, shiny graphs,” Denning wrote. “Until they know what they’re selling, sales leads won’t help.”
He was spot on when he indicated that more than half of business websites read as though they aren’t selling to humans. The websites are designed to be read by robots who can’t stop looking at their smartphones.
He may have a point.
“There’s no human language, very little content created by the people that work at the company, zero compassion and not a lot of humility,” he wrote.
It all comes down to process in that how a salesperson sells matters just as much as what they sell, he explained.
“The process you put a client through has to be simple, thoughtful and in their best interests (not yours),” Denning wrote. “Many businesses exist to serve the board or shareholders, but they do very little to help people like you and I live a better life and do our best work.”
He makes an interesting argument that paying for leads is not nearly as powerful as changing how companies sell to the leads they have. That involves loving the people who do the selling.
I agree. I have been employed at companies that treat salespeople like commodities. The firms demand sales forecasts in the morning, and a day-end report. They see no value in creating and nurturing relationships that will result in sales not only this year, but many years down the road.
“I had a sales guy that used to work for me. He treated one lead in Queensland, Australia really well. He spoke to him every day. He knew a lot about the persons family. He even went to the lead’s barbecue,” Denning explained.
“That lead was so impressed that he referred several hundred (that we could track) leads to our business. Treating one lead really well is far more powerful than buying more leads who don’t care about what you do.”
Yes, products and services have to be sold in order to pay the bills and keep the doors to the business open.
But it is people who buy products. People with feelings, dreams and troubles of their own.
What would happen if businesses stopped looking at the quantity of leads or their quality, and focus more on getting to know customers and finding ways to solve their problems?