One More Question…

One More Question...

One More Question…

I was working with a long-term client of mine recently.  After scoping a project, we were discussing and nearing terms on the price.  We agreed on the terms for the project and I went back to the office to get the final documents together, organize the team, and begin planning the kickoff.  On my drive home, My client called me.  “One more question…”  She wanted to know if we could cut the cost by 10%.  “We are really at our limit relative to costs on this project,” I said.  “And none of my competitors can give you someone with the skills of Joe [a consultant on my team] in this area.”  “Well, OK,” she said, “A girl’s gotta ask.”  I agreed, shared that although we could not reduce our price I understood her request, and we completed the contract and the project on-time and on-budget.  It was a good reminder to me that:

  1. Buyers will always ask for that one more thing (many times a reduced price)
  2. Don’t sell on price so it does not come down to price being your only concession point, and
  3. Don’t blame buyers, be surprised, or take it personally – because…”A girl’s gotta ask”
Marketing, Sales, Social Media

The Value of “The Human Interface”

face to faceIt’s an unfortunate paradox, but one that is harder and harder to ignore.  The more energy we all pour into our computers, social media, and mobile interfaces, the less time we spend on our person-to-person, human interface.  There are many articles highlighting this dynamic – that social media is ironically making us less social human beings. A great Facebook-focused article on this topic can be found here in The Atlantic.

But you don’t need to do comprehensive research for this information, the anecdotal evidence is all around us – kids texting from across a school bus aisle, adults arguing via Facebook posts, even teens impersonating other teens using “text spoofing” and other electronic interfaces.

The Workplace version of this story took on a new reality last week.  Here is what happened, according to Tech Crunch:

While at a Python programming conference, a developer who used to work for a company called Playhaven apparently made a joke about “big” dongles and “forking someone’s repo.”

Adria Richards, a developer evangelist sitting in front of them, called them out on Twitter and in a blog post for making the conference environment unwelcoming toward women

A huge, nasty online exchange erupted on the social media universe, and ultimately, both the programmer and Adria lost their jobs.  Very serious.  Very sad.

What if instead Adria had simply turned around and told the programmer that she found his comments offensive?  It’s easy to imagine that with face-to-face communication, this conflict could have been resolved much more effectively.

So, what does this have to do with sales and marketing?  A lot, I think.

I believe that we as Sales and Marketing Professionals have also lost some practice with direct human communication.  We use voicemail, email, text, and even social media to carry out much of the communication that was once almost exclusively face-to-face with our customers.  Have there been efficiency improvements, absolutely.  But, I can’t help but wonder how much more effective some of our critical conversations would be if we delivered them on the human interface.


Folks, This is a “Pens-Down Moment”

I’ve had it with people who don’t take notes in client meetings.  In fact, unless you have a miraculous photographic memory or a tape recorder, if you’re not taking notes in a client meeting, you should probably not be having one.

Note-taking is a lost art.  I had a CEO in a prior life who was minted at Xerox.  He understood this principle and tried to pound it into our heads.  During critical meetings with staffers, he was famous for calling people on the carpet and literally saying, “Folks, this is pens-down moment!”  Translation:  “You idiots, you should be taking notes.  Otherwise, I have no idea that you are understanding the importance of what I’m saying.”

If you are sitting through critical client/prospect meetings taking no notes, isn’t this what your clients are thinking too?  Will you really remember all the action items, much less the owners or due dates without notes?  What if you learn some key information about the alma mater of that key executive, or how many kids they have, or their pet (and budgeted) project coming up in 6 months?  Will you remember the critical details?  I don’t think so.

You’ll never catch me without my Moleskine notebook and a nice pen ready to jot some key take-aways.  I can still hear Paul, “…Folks, this is a pens-down moment…

Take copious notes in client meetings!


Bad Telemarketing – WOW – I Hung Up On Him!

Here is a lesson on cold-calling ripped straight from my Tuesday…

I wondered what my post would be  today – that is until I received a phone call at 1:30pm local time during a flurry of activity at my desk. 

It was a salesperson pitching a seminar where I would be guaranteed 1 of only 20 appointments that several C-level executives will have booked during their stay at a nice hotel in Arizona.    This guy was classic.  He must have been breathing through his ears, because he would not listen to me.  I said “I’m busy can you please call me at another time..” – simple, and more than an unwanted telephone caller deserves in terms of my politeness.  BUT he would not stop pitching me his service. 

As my grandmother said, you have one mouth and two ears, use them proportionately! 

These days you are fortunate to catch a prospect on the phone in person.  If they seem very busy and agree to schedule some time with you on another day –  book the meeting.  Send a calendar invite to them.  Say thank you.  And hang up.  You’ve made an advance.