I am coaching a number of sales reps who are being forced to partake in their company’s CRM software. You’d think they were being tortured in some Iranian prison by the way they talk about how much they cannot stand recording every inane detail. They don't understand why they need to participate and see the systems only as "a way for management to keep track of me." In a former life I, too, was committed to similar indentured servitude and hated it every bit as much.
Until this happened...
Several years ago, one of my clients was a company in the MidWest named Wetzel Brothers. To me, they were just another client. I trained two or three of their reps and they were pleased with the results. So pleased, in fact, that the president of the company, Mike Draver, called me to suggest that I call on their parent company, Consolidated Graphics, out of Houston.
Never heard of them, I told Mike, but OK. So, given the name of Rachel Keonig, I began the pursuit of a bigger fish. It took a few calls to get through, but dropping the name of “Mike Draver” helped since he, apparently, had been singing my praises to Rachel as well. Eventually, we spoke.
I related the benefits of the coaching program—Get Sales NOW!—that Mike had been raving to her about. Along the way, she asked where I was from. Since no one knows where Duxbury, MA, is, I told her I was in the Boston area.
“Oh,” she said, “I went to high school in Needham.” Coincidentally, so did I. Apparently, we were two years apart and blah, blah, blah, we talked about school and Red Sox and Rachel told me she’d keep me in mind.
When I got off of the phone, I took the time to fill in all of the information related to the call in my CRM system, including the Needham High School connection. End of story. I moved on to the next item on my to do list.
Fast-forward a year. My phone rings and it’s a woman from Houston, TX, whose name rang a bell. She had heard some good things about my training programs and wanted to know more. As she talked, I searched. Up popped the name, “Rachel Koenig” and I quickly read the notes I had made, smiling as it all came back to me.
“Rachel,” I interrupted. “You don’t remember me? We went to high school together in Needham!” “We did?” she replied, completely stunned. I went on to relate every detail that I had written down as if it was just yesterday that we passed in the hallway.
The tone of the call changed immediately and before I know it we were talking like old friends. At the end of the call, I was invited to speak at their three presidents meetings, the first time they had ever invited in an outside speaker. I went on to do hundreds of thousands of dollars of business with CGX and continue to work with many of their 80-something locations.
I eventually ’afessed up to Rachel that my memory was not all that I led her to believe it was. Thanks to that stupid, can’t stand it, OMG what a waste of time CRM system that “I swear is only so that management can keep track of me,” I landed a big fish.
Still hate your CRM? Get over it.
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