Making an ASS of Yourself (and ME)
You know that I love to quote clichés here, right? There’s that one about assumptions that we in print sales coaching talk about a LOT. Regarding assumption...you are making them, and they are KILLING you professionally and your sales.
When you make an assumption [assume], you make an ASS out of U and ME. Get it?
The reason that assumptions are killing your sales is that you are altering your sales behaviors to fit your assumptions. And, that is really a disaster, but we’ll get into that later.
So what ARE these assumptions, you ask? Oh, there are so many...but here are just a few of the worst ones.
1. Your clients and prospects are too busy to see you/hear from you. Yes, everyone is busy. It’s true. But your clients and prospects are NOT too busy to hear from you, if—and it’s a BIG IF—you have something new and creative to say to them.
If you are just calling to get on a bid list or see if there are any new projects to quote on, then, yes, you are just wasting everyone’s time. But, if you are calling with some insightful new ideas for how they can gain more market share through some great new print technologies, well, then, that’s a whole different conversation, isn’t it? Yes, it is.
2. No one wants to hear from you on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon. Please, I BEG YOU, if you are operating under this ridiculous assumption—STOP IT! There is no such thing as a “rude” time to call or visit.
I have had some of my most successful calls on Friday afternoons; people are in a good mood and ready for their weekends to get started. And, maybe no one else is calling on Monday mornings. So go for it.
Better yet, make the calls at 7:00 a.m. on Monday mornings, just to be the first voicemail customers/prospects hear when they get in to their offices. That will certainly leave an impression about how hard you work and the lengths that you are willing to go to to land new business.
3. Your clients already know everything that you do. The truth is, THEY DON’T! They have a lot on their plates, and keeping up on everything about your services is not very high on their list of priorities. That’s your job.
So whether you do it via a newsletter, blog or regular account reviews, make sure your clients and prospects are reminded of all that you do for them. (Or COULD do for them, if they would just give you a chance.)
4. Just stopping by unannounced is a waste of time because no one will ever step out to see you. Security is higher. And again, yes, people are busy. But do it anyway, because your competition might not be. And just dropping by with your business card, a brochure and a dollar scratch-off lottery ticket just MIGHT get their attention. Especially if they win.
5. No one ever returns your calls, so you just give up after one or two tries. Two things. One, your calls might not be returned because you have nothing of value to say. Again, if you are calling “to get on the bid list,” “to see if there are any new projects” or “to talk about how you can help them save money on their printing” then you sound just like everyone else who calls them all day long. Two, ANY prospecting plan should involve calls, letters, e-mails, postcards, drop bys, carrier pigeons—whatever you can do to get their attention. It needs to be timely and consistent. We like to call it pleasantly persistent.
If I were you, my plan for landing any new business would involve AT LEAST eight touches in a two-three week period.
I hope that this blog has convinced you to give up your assumptions and look at your job a little differently. Let go of your killer assumptions and there will be no more asses—not you, and not me.