Many years ago, before I was in sales, I worked in Pre-Sales Consulting. It was great because it gave me the opportunity to see the different styles of many sales people. One person I worked with was a real character. He insisted that every presentation must be memorable. He would use all kinds of tricks to ensure he was memorable – one involved smashing a mug (don’t ask me what the point of that was – I don’t remember). His theory was that if you were memorable as a sales person, you would stay top-of-mind for the prospect. I try to learn something from everyone I work with, from this person I learned the difference between ‘good memorable’ and ‘bad memorable’. In other words, he was half right. It’s important to be memorable, but it’s also important to be memorable for the right reasons.
Since then, I have often thought about the ways to be memorable to prospects- telling a funny joke in a presentation or using some ‘trick’ doesn’t work (for a laugh, check out this list), because those things won’t make you memorable for the right reasons.
It’s important to understand how memory works to understand what actions are effective in positively influencing it. The following quote sums up my thesis: “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” —Carl W. Buehner 1971
The following list are actions you can perform, that will create positive feelings in your prospect. It’s those positive feelings that will make you unforgettable.
1. Listen to them
Have you ever been ignored? Maybe spoken to a teenager holding a cell phone? If you have, you know that doesn’t create positive feelings. Too often sales people want the prospect to hurry up and be quiet so we can tell them about our fantastic solution! Or we listen for just a couple of key words, before jumping in and assuming we know exactly what they’re trying to say. We forget that letting the prospect communicate is far more important than anything we are going to say. They should be doing most of the talking in our meetings and we should be actively listening. Active listening is a skill we need to develop, fully concentrating on what is being communicated and why. Only after we fully understand their specific and unique needs (and the prospect KNOWS they have been heard) will they feel they can trust us to solve their problem.
2. Be Responsive
This is the skill of showing ‘active listening’ even when you’re not directly speaking to your prospect. With today’s technology you might be emailing or texting with a prospect, and when they reach out with a question or concern, they’re looking for a quick response. The best sales reps respond as quickly as possible. Even if that response is simply to acknowledge the message was received and they are working on an answer. A quick response might include: A restatement of the question, a proposed action plan and an anticipated deadline – to clearly set expectations. This will make the prospect feel confident you are working on their question and it will be answered shortly. If they wait a long period of time before hearing from you – they won’t know if their email even got through your spam filter!
3. Be Prepared
You need to have have everything ready for meetings, you understand your own product and their business, and specifically how they will get value from your product. Being prepared means that you respect your prospect’s time. It also makes you reliable and predictable- these are very important qualities when building a relationship based on trust. Often salespeople talk about the importance of making every interaction with their prospect valuable, it’s rare that kind of value happens by accident. Valuable interactions happen because you are prepared with the thing that you know will be valuable. Like Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind” – if you know where the meeting needs to go, you will know what the key takeaways will be. If you happen to give more value than you were planning, hey take the added bonus!
4. Be Yourself
People can spot a phony a mile away. If fact, it’s the fake smile and cheesy demeanor of the ‘used-car-salesman’ that gave this profession it’s bad name. You can’t fake a genuine interest in people or a comfort with meeting new people- those are skills you can develop. Emotionally, there will be good days and days you don’t feel great. Your prospects don’t need to be exposed to the worst aspects of your personal life, but they do need to see you as a real person. As a fellow human, you can connect with your prospects by interests you share, and stand out in their mind for the things that are unique to you. I’m Australian by birth, so my accent instantly makes me stand out, and today I’m American- so in the USA, that’s a point of commonality.
5. Have Integrity
It’s important for a salesperson to have integrity for so many reasons. Prospects may expect you to lie to them – so honesty will set you apart from others. Yet integrity is more than honestly, it’s the quality of reliability and predictability. Having a strong moral compass will foster feelings of trust because your prospect knows that you won’t compromise your principles. If you have bad news to deliver to your prospect, deliver it. People deal best with bad news when it’s clearly presented – not when it’s hidden behind euphemisms or lies. Sometimes, delivering bad news is the best time to show your personal integrity and it will foster greater trust. Don’t miss the opportunity to stand out as someone your prospect can trust.
The above items will make your prospects feel important and build trust with you. Those are powerful feelings they will remember.
Are there any ways that you make yourself memorable to prospects? Feel free to comment or shoot me and email – I look forward to hearing from you. – Lorne@lornecampbell.com