How Are You “Showing Up” To Your Prospects And Customers?


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I know you think I make these stories up, they are so preposterous, they can only be fiction! Well, I wish I were that creative (I’d start writing a novel), but I’m simply not smart enough to make this stuff up.

I’m sitting in my office, catching up on stuff. The phone rings, it’s on our main line, so it’s most likely a sales person or a prospect. I answer.

“Is Mark in?” says the voice at the other end of the line. I know it’s a sales person, all Mark’s clients and the people he has prospected have his direct line.

“No he’s not available at the moment, can I help you?” I reply (Mark’s sitting in another city, across the country, but I decide to save him the agony).

“Well, I’ve sent him a couple of emails and he hasn’t responded, I’d really like to speak with him.” says the “sales person.” I’m wondering, what made this sales person think that Mark should have responded. The sales person seemed a little offended that someone would not respond to his emails.

“Mark’s not available, perhaps I can help you.” I reply–I’m really trying to sound sincere.

“Well, I’d like to talk to Mark, our company offers a service that does this……..” says the “sales person.” I’m really curious. Based on Mark’s LinkedIn profile and his bio at our site, it’s not clear why he would choose Mark for this query. Mark’s expertise is very far from that, but that must be the name he purchased somewhere.

“Mark doesn’t have anything to do with that, why did you direct your query to him?” I reply, trying to be helpful while simultaneously sighing.

I would have expected, a response something like, “Perhaps, he’s the wrong person, could you please direct me to the person who is responsible for that?” But instead, he replied, “Oh, is he the CEO?”

“No he isn’t,” I reply.

Again, I would have expected, “Could you please tell me who the CEO is?” But, there was just a deflated, “Oh……….”

I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself, I couldn’t resist continuing, “Can I help you with anything else?” Yes, I have a bit of a cruel streak, but I wanted to see what he might come up with.

“No, I guess not, thanks…..” and he hung up.

This person calls himself a sales person??????

It’s so rare to connect with a real human being (well, I’m almost human) on the phone these days, it’s important that we make the best of the opportunity–both in being prepared and in being opportunistic.

So he called the wrong person–perhaps with a few moments of research, he could have identified the right person. It may have been difficult to determine the person in our company who would be interested in the services he was selling, but he also seemed to be interested in talking to the CEO of our company. That’s pretty easy to find, at our website, at my LinkedIn profile, at my blog, at ……..

But he didn’t spend two minutes researching and preparing.

When he had me “engaged,” he could have asked several questions, “Who is responsible for this?” or “Who is the CEO?” But he didn’t.

I wish this was unusual, but it isn’t. Too many sales people aren’t “engaged” in what they are doing–it’s no wonder why they can’t “engage” the customer. On this call, I wasn’t rushing the sales person, I kept asking how I could be helpful. I gave him a number of opportunities to ask questions, to get information, or even connect to the person he really wanted to talk to—-me. But he wasn’t paying attention.

As I reflected on the call, I started thinking about the concept of “engagement.” I’ve spoken and written a lot about getting our customers engaged in the call. But perhaps, I’ve missed something. It’s impossible to get customers engaged, if we aren’t! Too often, I see sale people “going through the motions,” but not engaged. Sales is tough, we have to prepare, we have to execute sharply–above all, we have to “show up.”

How are you showing up to your customers and prospects?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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