By Charles Martin | October 17, 2011
and btw… sorry - I’ve been remiss. Been hunkering down to make this work. First time I’ve had such a gap in three years… welcome back!
Good sellers have it made.
Outside salespeople are usually not locked in a closet (aka a cubicle) and forced to fill the 480 minutes that is 9-5. We’re free to imagine the world as we see it. We’re artists (as actors) and creators. Our pitch is the script we write to a better world for both of us. A close is another front row patron who laughs at our worst jokes or cries at our most moving scene (in this case the giant check my company has just sent them).
All the best closers and wanna be closers I know, not unlike Shelley Levene, have their heart and soul in it. We all truly believe that our new gospel is the only gospel and it hurts when we aren’t getting our message through.
Where we’ve been.
Small and medium sized merchants were largely ignored in the dot-com boom. I witnessed this revolution first hand. A place I worked, EarthLink, enabled everyone to plug in and witness the new age. We never really focused on these businesses except to sell them the same access to the very same information superhighway as consumers would use, but at a higher rate. Then we sent their disc in a fancier box. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good deal. Remember what I said about gospel.
Sure, there were ways these businesses could reach customers online, but they had to pay up front and wait by the front door to welcome the masses. It was the same old wait and see game but with a different spin. I used to teach a class in hotel ballrooms on weekends for small business owners on the ins and outs of Lycos and other now-dead search engines. The idea was that everyone would find you Mr. Restaurant - but you have to learn tons of html and oh… “good luck!” Then others figured out that they could be the repository for all things small business. These electronic yellow pages were just that — another book that you fought to be bigger in. Some of my current colleagues are from those places and I don’t diminish their good works. For everything that was available in the last 12 years, their solutions served the need and they certainly came through on their promise.
This is something more. Way more.
I joined the new marketing revolution in April. Just a tad 6 months ago. LivingSocial is absolutely, by far, the best company to be working for. Period. I don’t post this so I get a raise or keep my gig. I’m in sales: No numbers? “Goodbye.” No meeting of quota? “We loved your humor, your spirit, and some of your blog posts…but… goodbye!”
If you are an active consumer like me, then you know that if a lot of people like the company they work for, then that usually means the product or service they sell is probably good for the end-user too. It starts at the top. Have you called Zappos lately?
Definitely true at LivingSocial.
The land of better: What I’ve learned thus far.
One of the first things that strikes me and really gets me out of bed (besides my REVV coffee and the talking Keurig machine) is the fact that I now really am helping someone be better, do better, and reap the rewards of better.
That someone is you: Mr. Small but Awesome Mediterranean Restaurant. Ms. Brazilian Blowout Goddess. Mr Fine Dining. Jack the Auto Detail God.
I’ve seen and met over three hundred local business owners in the past month. My seasoned colleagues have met thousands.
I’m impressed by you and I don’t impress easily. When the politicians say that you are the backbone of the new American economy, they aren’t kidding. When we pull into a Home Depot parking lot we go for speed and selection, but there truly is more to having an expert on your side. Home Depot might have experts, but you’ve got more. By virtue of this job, I am changing my buying habits and looking more towards Main Street and Side Street, USA. I stopped for a second a while ago and realized that all your labor, that commitment you have to your business, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, really means something to the world. It truly does.
When I meet you now as your advocate, I have a tool that allows you to instantly meet hundreds, if not thousands, of new and interested customers. Not unlike speed dating, this is your simple and quick chance to show the best of what you do. It could be your finest meal, or the results of your many years learning the skills of being a dentist, masseuse, cosmetologist, or Yogi. The future customers we will attract together, through a LivingSocial Daily Deal, will pre-pay for the privilege to meet you and that means they are invested in you.
Once your LivingSocial promotion runs, it’s time to present the best of your best and not be afraid to prove to these new customers that they’ve made the right choice. Our company uses the secret of something that’s powerful – impulse buying — to get people to commit to trying your company’s services and products. But that’s just the beginning. We present you in a way that, before now, was never possible. After all, most of you are not able to effect an instant online purchase that will mean so much to your future. And by the way, leveraging the psychological behavior of buyers is not subversive or under-handed. Marketers have been doing this since Biblical times. And, there’s one thing that is for certain: I don’t sell anything that has to do with false promises or deceit. Period. That’s my personal rule, but I also know my colleagues agree with me.
This is the first job where I get multiple emails a week of “… hey Charles, stoked with the results!… or…”wow… that wasn’t so bad, when can we run again?” I kid you not.
My colleagues and competitors truly want to be part of your success story. Luckily the folks I work for understand that if we strive to do everything right, and learn from the things that didn’t go so well, we will be long-term partners in your business. Our re-run rate (the rate at which merchants do a 2nd deal or more) is in the high 90s percentage-wise today.
For what we do, there are so many applications in the field and the revolution I speak of has all but made anything else obsolete. I think Google is a phenomenal company, but unless you’re Ford, you have no business buying AdWords. I know, if you’re like me, you throw the tired ECO-negative phone book back at the guy who demands it live on your porch for six months. Per this research, the average click to just “review your site” on Google, can cost an average of $77. That’s not warm and in the door.
With social buying, there’s no upfront hope-and-see investment. Now, you have a partner that will custom-tailor a promotion that will be perceived as exactly what your future customers are searching for. You will remind them that they haven’t figured out day camp for junior or that their hair needs a little help. You might even change a life or two in the process. I know I have.
Yes, there are costs involved. But what better way to spend marketing dollars than to be able to measure each and every introduction as it occurs on your home turf and THEN decide what you’ll do next. You do have to honor the commitment you’ve made to our mutual promotion, but that’s it. Remember, it’s like dating. You will only win over a select group of committed fans, but that’s purely gold bullion in the small business trade. In the old world, you would have already spent (a lot more) dollars and had virtually no voice in the way it ultimately worked out. Thanks to lots of available technology, my job is all about measuring results and honing your next promotion to be even better. Here, the learning is as much fun as the doing.
Whatever it takes.
Let’s talk about the resources for a minute. I’ve worked for a lot of great companies. I’ve worked at places that had the world in their palms. But finally there’s a company that has provided me more resources for success than any other. I’m lucky and that benefits you in great ways.
As a salesperson, I now have the benefit of a very large, but specialized team with a common drive to make your promotion the very best it can be. This means I have more time (and I’m awake) to take your call. Instead of sharing one support person among countless salespeople, I have a company of experts that make the production side of things easy and friendly to you, the merchant. Did I mention we have hundreds of salespeople in your streets? That’s commitment. Number crunching, data driven. That’s where I work. For someone that wants to win — and what good sales person doesn’t — Santa Claus finally read my list.
It’s not as much about the fact that I never go without. It’s more about the fact that my team has IQ. My team has been filtered and honed. We were brought into an organization that, in total, represents only one person for every 2000 people that applied. It’s common for us to welcome a new team member with the email of attributes that contain pearls like “double master’s degree”. I am so confident it will all work out because the folks on my team are committed to mutual success. There’s some kool-aid in my voice, but not much. We are literally the Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods of marketers and lucky for you, there’s no waiting in line for our autograph.
I’m not banging on that big box store’s door outside of town, I am doting on you, Mr. Important Local Merchant.
Let’s talk. We’ll form a team… and every time we make a touchdown, you’re the ultimate winner.
Topics: Greats in business |