For instance, I knew my competitors. I knew their names. I passed them in the lobbies of my prospects and customers.
It was a good day if they were leaving as I was coming in. That meant I had the last chance to sway the buyer.
After I’d been on the job about six months I came back to the office one afternoon after losing a deal. My boss, Ray, thought that perhaps I hadn’t been sufficiently motivated to win.
He called an impromptu meeting in the sales room. The whole team gathered around as I stood with him at the front.
“Do you have any money in your pocket?”
I did. $40.
“Give it to me.”
“Thanks.” Then he turned, walked to his desk and sat down.
“Apparently you didn’t mind giving your commission to our competitors. I thought I’d ask for some too.”
Now, I hated those bastards. They were trying to take money out of my pocket.
This was personal.
Compare that with selling today.
It’s too impersonal. Sellers and experts talk about process, tools, methods, conversions, metrics. Yadda yadda yadda.
Screw that. What about winning?
Our customers can’t receive the promised value from our products and services if we don’t win their business.
When we attempt to completely mechanize and virtualize our selling it makes it difficult to be personal.
It makes it virtually impossible to win if it ain’t personal.
From the beginning of my career is sales, I’ve known that my job was pretty simple. To win new business.
To win new business I had to help my customers make their purchase decisions.
To help my buyers make their decision, I needed to be a source of value.
To be a source of value, I had to be worth their investment of time in me.
To be worth their investment of time, I needed to earn their trust.
To earn their trust, I had to build a relationship with them.
To build a relationship, I had to connect with them on a human level.
At each step, it was personal.
The personal imperative is no different today.
You can have all the process, tools, methods and metrics in the world…but if you can’t make it personal, you aren’t going to win much.