The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “M’s”

Michelangelo was renowned as an artist. What many do not know about him is that he lived more than twice as long as the average person in the 16th century (life expectancy back then was 40 years and he lived to the age of 88).  And his parting words from this earth? “I am still learning”. Wow! What is equally impressive to his humility and wisdom is that he could reach people through various mediums: sculpture, paintings, architecture and poetry. He could take his life’s work and the passion for his message and place it into different channels to meet and inspire people in the art form that spoke most to them.

Hence, the 3 M’s: Mutli-Channel              Meetings            Metrics

Multi-channel. There is a drum I beat very loudly whenever we take on a new client and begin the important steps of communicating and collaborating about their prospect population and the client’s value proposition. I tell them simply that everything we do from this point forward has to be done while keeping the prospect first. It is critical that we answer the “so what?” question for the prospect and that we do it in the very beginning. Otherwise, we are not going to get the prospect to slow down long enough to listen to us and allow us to expand on what our client does that could be meaningful to them. Once we get our clients in the mindset of placing themselves behind THEIR prospect, we then turn to ask the question – “on what platform do your prospects prefer to be met?”

Obviously, to uncover the answers to both of these questions requires real work, collaborative effort, and a certain amount of humility, placing others before ourselves. After the dust settles (and egos are slightly deflated) the conclusion we draw is that their prospects are likely to be in a number of channels and it would behoove our clients to consider a few marketing venues instead of just one. When we’ve agreed that this is prudent, we then set about the task of ensuring that the messaging in the channels is consistent, clear, and that it respects the particular channel AND resonates with the prospect. Nothing is more harmful for a prospect than to get one impression of you on social media and then experience something else entirely when they call in to inquire about your services. Any inconsistency will immediately send the message to the prospect that your product or service may have similar flaws.

Meetings. There are a couple of components I want you to consider here. As always, let’s start with your prospects. Unequivocally, meeting time with a prospect is the absolute best use of time for your sales team. You use all of your marketing budget and effort to get this most precious commodity. And so everyone internally better know how to make the best use of it. The truth is, the first meeting may be the only meeting you get if you or a colleague are not prepared.

The first component of maximizing this opportunity is preparation. Your team should know anything and everything you can about the prospect, professionally for sure, and personally if possible. The professional aspect is obvious. You should know their organization, their rank, and most-importantly, their potential professional need. But the personal aspect matters as well. Something as simple as looking carefully at their bio on the website or reviewing their LinkedIn profile could reveal something about them as a person. I can guarantee if you find a connection on that level, or at least make mention of something that matters to them personally, THEY will remember YOU.

The second component is time. Keep your meetings brief. I’m not suggesting you “cut them short” as if you have something better to do, fact is, you don’t. And the prospect knows it. But be respectful of THEIR time as this is likely only one of many things they have to do in the day and this isn’t an activity that is generating revenue for them –  in fact, it may end up being a spend that they have to compensate for internally causing the need for more revenue to be generated.

The last component is sincerity. Make sure your meetings have structure, but allow them to leave room for the human element. Things like building rapport, taking the extra time needed to truly understand a particular need, or having some part of the dialogue be superfluous, but personal in nature, can all go a long way towards getting the second meeting.

A quick note on your internal meetings. Simply put, all the components I describe above about meetings with clients – use them for your internal meetings, too. And whatever you do, don’t just have meetings for meetings sake. Nothing is worse than a meeting that everyone is dreading and that usually results in absolutely nothing getting done. Prepare, use brevity as a guide, and keep the human element alive in your meetings. Your team will thank you for it.

Metrics. I read a book once called Fit for Life. Towards the end of the book the author used several pages and enscribed the following statement: Do Not Overeat. Over and over and over for 3 full pages. I feel like I could do the same thing here. But I would use a single word, measure. As you might imagine, the whole point is emphasis on the importance of metrics in your sales approach.

I would also offer you the thought that metrics can be misleading and misinterpreted. To avoid both, I would encourage you as a sales leader to make sure everyone on the team who is held accountable to any kind of metrics fully understand the impact the metrics have on their role, on the sales team, and on the organization as a whole. Take time to review these on no less than a quarterly basis. Not only so your colleagues know where they stand, but also because you may find you should be reevaluating some of the metrics you predetermined as beneficial. While having sales goals is prudent, the ebb and flow of the marketplace, your prospect populations and their needs, or where your value proposition fits best may very well shift. And it may be prudent for you to make sure you are shifting with it.

Put people first, use the 3 “M’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat, should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.

To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 N’s – Negativity, Niches, News