How long would you call on a prospect until you got a sale? How many no’s will you tolerate before you give up? How persistent are you in the face of adversity? Last week I speaking to the amazing sales team at Cars.com. In my pre-event interviews I spoke to John Scalzitti who told me about one of their Legends Jeff Coulter. Cars.com is a digital media company that brings an audience of car buyers to auto dealers. The dealers have in the past been used to paying for traditional advertising, primarily TV and print. In the early days of Cars.com it was a much more difficult sale than today. It is well known that car buyers do much more research on the internet today before they go the the dealership. Often that research is done on their smart phone…at the dealership…in front of the sales person!
Jeff had to challenge the dealers paradigm of how they viewed the car buying process. He had to win the battle and teach them a new way of thinking and buying their advertising to drive the car buying public to their dealerships. Jeff learned how to keep charging through rejection. He kept coming back with an assertive attitude and the right data and insight to change the way the dealers looked at their advertising.
Jeff used to say that deal took my 5 years and 10 minutes. Five years of sales calls and planning and 10 minutes to do the paperwork.
Can you relate to that? How persistent are you? Do not focus on the price/investment but instead on the value you bring to the customer. Challenge the way they currently view what you are offering! It may not take you five years but if you have a compelling story, create urgency and keep charging through rejection and you will be more successful.
Golf Magazine just named Phil Mickelson Player of the Year. His brand has become “The Peoples Champion” and I belive that it was not by accident. Like Arnie (Palmer) and his Army from the 60’s, Phil has created a base of Raving Fans. Announcer Gary McCord said he said he was going to be everything Tiger Woods was not. That is an interesting branding philosophy. Who is your biggest competitor? What are they not?
For Phil it was basics like being friendly with the galleries, taking extra amounts of time to sign 100’s of autographs and bring his family with him often. With Tiger’s transgressions it was easy to position against him with his long marriage to Amy and his three adorable kids. Seeing Tiger now with one of his kids at a tourney actually seems kind of strange to me.
Early in Phil’s career he was said to be kind of aloof and did not embrace the fans. He made a conscious decision to spend the time with fans because he knows that few moments of interaction can lock them in forever as being a supporter.
I have also made that decision in my career to be different. Almost all speakers use PowerPoint. I never have. Most speakers stay on stage. I get out and engage the audience. Almost no speakers create a customized handout for every event. I do every time regardless of how many are in the audience. My style is more like a interactive workshop not a “traditional one way keynote”. It makes for a more enjoyable sticky experience for the audience.
Research your competition and find out what you can do differently that will make a difference.Read More