In my office hangs a small sign that (in part) reads: “You are not in the sales business, you are a marketing consultant who sells ideas and solutions.” Regular readers will know I quote sales guru Dave Gifford a lot, and this is another one from “Giff.”
I believe, in order to be “a marketing consultant who sells ideas and solutions,” you must first sell your prospects on two things – one is a partnership and the other is YOU.
We hear this all the time, the concept of selling ourselves, but I often wonder if people are aware what that means. I heard one person say recently, “you first sell the trust in you,” and I asked him if that’s really possible. It sounds good, but do you ever really build trust in someone quickly? To me, trust is something that builds over time. Some things you can show someone quickly is demeanor, a passion for what you’re selling, professionalism (were you on time and prepared?) and the ability to listen.
I often advise sports media sellers to step back and turn the tables around. If you’re the business owner, thinking about your business and what you want out of a “marketing consultant,” what types of things would you look for? I’d want someone to ask me good questions that make me think about my business, someone who did some homework and made themselves at least dangerous enough to hold a conversation about the business or industry that I’m in and I’d want someone who I can learn something from without them being a know-it-all.
Nobody goes in to a sale thinking about earning a short-term, one-time advertiser. We think, or are supposed to be thinking about, long term clients willing to make long term investments in their business. So, if that’s the case and this is to be someone you’ll have a working relationship with for a long time, there needs to be compatibility, the personalities need to mesh. My best clients over the years became great friends, and I’m certain that has been the case for many of you. Did that happen because they really liked the radio station I represented? More likely, it was because we had common interests and/or personalities and liked to hang out together.
One of my favorite words to use in our business is “partnership.” If I have met with 5,000 clients in my days, then I have said 5,000 times that I am interested in “a mutually beneficial partnership” and that I am “not interested in a short term opportunity, I am most interested in bringing you measurable results for your business as I know if I do that, we will be long time partners.”
It’s quite the powerful word, “partnership.” One of the actual definitions is “joint interest.” You have an interest in learning about the prospective client’s business and sharing marketing ideas and solutions and they have interest in investing in their company and your marketing expertise with the joint interest of growing the revenue of the business.
Selling the idea of this being a partnership and not just a sale or the package of the week is a point I try and drive home throughout the presentation to a client once I have all of the information needed to put it together. This even works as a close, being able to reiterate what each of you is bringing to the table while gaining their confidence, “With your expertise in your field and my expertise in mine, along with our mutual interest in growing your business, how can we lose? Are you ready to move forward?”
Sell the partnership and never forget they’re buying you. Make it so that whatever the investment is, they know your services being included has tremendous value, because now you are THEIR marketing consultant who sells ideas and solutions.