Talk to the Front Line
One of the most important skills a sales rep has is his or her curiosity. Dale Carnegie 101 encourages us to engage in conversation with an emphasis on listening over talking. My guess is, you have opportunities all day long that you might be missing simply because you are consumed in your issues and your concerns and your challenges. What a difference it would make if we could just learn to show some interest in others.
Think about the daunting task of landing a Big Fish. It would be quite a coup to do business with that regional bank you currently frequent to visit your 0% savings account. The problem is, the Buyer only want to talk price, you are too intimidated to call on the top dog, and they use an outside marketing firm which creates another layer of complexity.
Oh, well, you think. Maybe you could try a different bank.
But here’s the thing: You could still “knock over the bank” by using a non-traditional path. What if you met with the Manager at your bank and asked a few open-ended questions? What would curiosity at that level do for you?
It’s not uncommon for the decision-makers to be disconnected to the front line employees and the problems they face (not to mention the knowledge they have at that level). Do you really believe the president of the bank is calling up some random assistant manager and asking, “What do you think we should do?”
And yet, imagine if that call actually took place.
Street-level workers such as managers and assistant managers possess a tremendous amount of information as well as a huge opportunity for you. Simply by being curious, asking some open ended questions, and then listening with both ears, you could discover something that would lead you to landing that bank. Communication at large accounts is one way, from the top down. Executives are keen on dictating directives but not so good at understanding problems and opportunities found at the lower level.
Get curious. Show some interest. You will get an earful…two, if you’re good.
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