Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sales Reps(Copier): Pie Is Not Sexxy

This account is based on a True Story.  The names and locations are changed to protect the ignorant.

The sharp-dressed, well-seasoned sales manager sauntered in five minutes late. He's read somewhere, that a strong entry is important when motivating the troops and this month's sales figures are in need of some heavy stimulation.

"All right ladies, " he starts, ignoring the fact that only two of the 18 salespeople in the room are female, "as you know, this is the last week of the month.  You've all committed to numbers that none of you have delivered.  Not one."
Initiate spontaneous, mutual sphincter contractions.
"I want you to bring these all in, " now he's pointing to the weathered whiteboard.  The ghost of Glengarry Glen Ross floats above the congregation.

"Mike!" he snaps, referring to the newest member.

"I've got some coupons from the pie shop down the street,  I want you to take a pie out to Johnston-Michaels Construction and hand-deliver that pie.  I want you to take a lease with you. A completed lease.  I want you to wait in the lobby until you place said pie into the hands of Gary Johnston himself. And while he's holding his pie, tell him to sign your lease. Don't ask, tell. Get the signature, " and in his best Alec Baldwin imitation, he utters, "GET THEM TO SIGN ON THE LINE WHICH IS DOTTED. Everyone loves pie."

Standing there, the word "pie" hangs like a last-second three-pointer, "the rest of you, get your coupons and start delivering pies." The 'supreme motivator' exits leaving 17 desperate (copier) salespeople in silence.

And so begins another mad dash toward 'month-end duplicated in varying degrees, 12 times a year, coast to coast.

This story has two morals:

1. The 1980s are over
2. Beware the sales rep bearing pie

1980's Sales Techniques -

Studies show, before deciding to purchase, a customer has looked at 18 websites on the subject. By the time a prospect decides to talk with a sales rep (vs. selling professional) he is 60% through the sales funnel - he's practically made up his mind.

This is how most B2B decisions are made in the year 2014. Back in 1980, 'educating the prospect' meant convincing him your service was the best - the only source for information about your product, was you!  Not anymore.  All those 'techniques' are on the wrong side of history - cold calling, pitch books, assumptive close - prospects can see this coming a mile away.

Warm Apple Pie -

Back in the day, we would FedEx a C-Level(VITO) a baby shoe with a cute letter explaining how his company and ours would 'make a great pair'.  I know, I know...but it worked, believe it or not.  Today, instead of shoes, some companies send remote control cars, without the controller.
Cute.  Would you, or any prospect, make a buying decision based on such a trivial 'gift'?
"Johnston-Michaels Construction" considered the gift pie in their decision-making process.  The owner accepted said pie and signed with the competitor. 

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