For the last two months, I have been doing a riff on the fact that many of us are living on ZOOM calls these days. After three months I can tell you that I myself am all Zoomed out, and yet I keep on showing up for them, because not only I am I committed to those who invite me and attend my own, but I ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS learn something and meet someone new.
So, there’s that.
In April we met our five Zoom friends, and if you missed that or want to revisit it you can read it here
In May we diagnosed each one of the five characters with a common sales issue, ranging from call reluctance to complacency. You can check it out here in case you missed it or want to give it another go.
This month, we are going to discuss possible treatment options for our friends. I’m no doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, but after 25 years in graphic arts, and coaching hundreds of salespeople in the process, I feel like I know a thing or two and can offer some insights and possible adjustments necessary to help our friends make some lasting changes that will increase their sales and deepen their relationship with clients and colleagues alike.
Remember Sheila? Turns out Sheila has call reluctance. There are several causes for call reluctance that I most commonly see.
1. You do not want to interrupt people. This issue is all about mindset. Until you can know and believe in your heart and in your brain that your products and services can and will help people, you should not pick up a phone or write an email. Because here’s the thing: Printing CAN help. You can help with signage. You can help with Every Door Direct Mail campaigns to help drive sales. You can offer to put a fresh pair of eyes on their projects, to offer new ideas and increase the value of what they are doing. Know it. Believe it. Please do not engage until you embrace this.
2. You don’t know what to say. Being able to articulate who you are, what you do, and who you do it for is crucial to your success. You must be able to explain to someone what is different about you. Why they should buy from you. Have some stories about the problems you have solved and what the results were. Stories are one of the best ways to help a potential customer understand why they should give you the time of day. If you cannot readily show this, get together with some colleagues, and formulate these stories. Practice. Talk to current customers and ask them, “Why do you buy from me?” Use those responses in your storytelling.
Remember Jim? Jim does not like change. And one of the biggest reasons that Jim does not like change is fear. Jim fears to have his ignorance exposed. There are so many things that have happened to the industry in the last decade. 3D printing. QR codes. Augmented Reality. Jim does not know or care what a CRM is. But Jim, I have great news for you. You do not ever have to look silly in front of colleagues or clients. Here are a couple of things you can do.
1. Google it – anything in the entire world you need to know can be easily explained in a short article. You can make it a habit to literally learn something new every day and get more secure and more comfortable. Side benefit? You’ll become more interesting.
2. Get out of your comfort zone. Ask a decade’s younger colleague for a quick chat. Attend and then even HOST a zoom meeting. Practice on friends and family til you feel secure with the tech, and then you’re off. The truth is, the world is not likely to completely return to in-person meetings any time soon, so the faster you get comfortable, the more you can benefit from your adaptation. And even if the world DOES go back to “Normal” you can still use the tools and the information.
And then there’s Sara. Sara, such a fountain of information. Sara knows so much, and she just cannot help herself when she finds herself with a captive audience. There are a lot of concerns with this kind of person.
1. You can talk yourself out of a sale by providing information that might talk someone OUT of doing business with you.
2. You can come off as a conversational narcissist. No one likes someone who does all the talking.
The suggested treatment for Sara’s ailment is to change her habits. Sara needs to listen more than she talks. Sara needs to make a list of important impactful questions. Things she needs to know to suggest the best possible solutions to her client’s problems. As my old friend, Bill always says, “God gave you one mouth and two ears. Do the math. People who can fire off information are a dime a dozen. Good listeners are like gold. Be a good listener.
Our over-empathizer Matt needs to be reminded of one important fact: Remember who you work for, Matt. You have such a big heart, and everyone loves you for it. But remember this, Matt: You get out of bed every day to, yes, help your customers, but you were hired to make YOUR company money. You must NEVER apologize for doing your job. You have valid reasons to contact people. You are NEVER an interruption of their day. You are there to help. Your solutions help. Never feel bad about that. You are not harassing someone if you call a few times to follow up on a quote. You have a right to know what the final disposition is. There is a baseline of assertiveness that all salespeople need to be successful and this is something we should never have to apologize for. Stand tall.
The complacent superstar is our last and perhaps most tricky challenge. Who wants to argue with a star? And what does complacent even mean? If the issue is that Diane has not brought in any new work, or that all her new work comes from referrals, there may not be much of a problem. The real issue as I see it comes into play when a rep sits on a ton of potential business and does not close it. The solution here is to give each sales rep a finite amount of time with prospects, and when that time expires, it is time to reassign it. And if the issue is that she just doesn’t seem to be a part of the team anymore, that she is more of a lone wolf, try assigning her as a mentor to a newer rep. Ask her to shepherd this newbie through some of the challenges. Make her accountable to the team in a kind of ‘elder statesperson” way. It can be flattering to be recognized as a high performer – someone whose experience can benefit everyone. The hope is that she will rise to the occasion and that the energy of the newer rep will ignite some new passion.
So, there you have it, the Zoomers got identified, diagnosed, and treated. If you see yourself in any of these personas, I hope this helps. And if you are a boss or manager to any of these, I hope these suggestions bring you some value.
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, and Girl #2 at #GirlsWhoPrint, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to keep fighting to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.
Kelly is a regular co-host on the #GirlsWhoPrint Podcast along with Deborah Corn. She is also a mentor to several future sales stars and she connects to them through the Women’s Print Mentoring Network. Check out her book, co-authored by Bill Farquharson: Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How. Kelly also occasionally guest blogs at Printing Impressions and you can see her most recent posts here.