You just made a sales call. You think it went well. The buying influence addressed all of your questions. You now believe that you have developed a corporate connection that lays the foundation for a mutually agreed upon next step. In retrospect, ask yourself, “Did you make a lasting impression, one that will resonate throughout the process?
To answer that question you must take a step back and look at it through the lens of the customer, after all that is the person who matters most. If the question were posed “how did you rate the quality of the sales call with that sales representative (you) when compared to all other competitors who call on him/her” would he or she say……?
- That was a great meeting and a good use of my time!
- He/She was extremely prepared for the call, asked great questions and provided detailed information that will be very helpful to me.
- That sales representative really made me think about the long-term proposition. He/She asked me pointed questions I had not previously considered.
- I was better able to see the value proposition from our meeting.
- I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge base at our next meeting.
- I wish I could clone more sales representatives like (you) who took the time to learn about our business prior to a call.
A key component of your job as a sales representative is to be “memorable”, to stand out from your competition and your peers by making a lasting impression! This is accomplished when you provide value from the stakeholder’s point of view, not yours. Here are some examples of “memorable” sales representatives that have called on us when we were in a decision making position or sellers that we have observed as sales and management consultants.
Gar M-Capital Products Rep – Gar closed a major deal by selling an industry leading infant ventilator at a healthcare facility where one of the authors of this blog was in a key decision making role. In fact, this particular hospital eventually became one his top customers. When Gar made sales calls, he did not take the traditional route by talking about product features and benefits. He recognized early in the process that we thoroughly understood the technical features of his product. Instead, he focused the questions on the clinical application of the solution and tied his product to the results that we expected.
He asked about the challenges that we faced and how we would solve them? What problems were we trying to avoid? In addition, how could his product line be improved to meet future requirements? Gar provided supportive evidence of recently published clinical papers on infant mechanical ventilation that validated the efficacy of their solution. He also provided us copies for distribution to others throughout the facility. He continually informed our team of upcoming medical conferences that were relevant to our area of expertise.
Gar provided the names of leading practitioners who were conducting clinical research on infant ventilation throughout the U.S. and other countries throughout the world, and he offered to make an initial contact on our behalf. He always delivered additional value through his knowledge and insight and his willingness to go the extra mile. As a result, Gar gained credibility and our trust through his educational focus, white papers and third-party references. In short, it was always time well spent.
Mickey B- Consumables Sales Rep– Mickey stood out because he always wore a bow tie. This fashion statement was his personal trademark that helped to create a physical space between him and the competition. Much like Jack Nicholson, who is always seen wearing sunglasses, Mickey’s bow tie was highly visible and recognizable. However, what made him memorable was his personality and sales approach. Mickey knew everyone in the hospital and while making sales calls, he was sure to engage with everyone he encountered. It did not matter the position or title, folks would stop and ask his opinion and Mickey would always listen.
To Mickey, listening was both an art-form and a strategic tool to gain competitive advantage. Through effective listening, he learned about pending proposals and new hospital initiatives, organizational changes, census trends and new service offerings, not to mention the day to day operational and clinical issues that were always in play. As a result, Mickey would routinely offer suggestions and ideas for process improvement to problems that we didn’t even know existed. Mickey wasn’t viewed simply as a company sales representative; we considered him a solution provider and problem solver.
John B- OR Distributor Sales Rep– Physician preference items have long been hot on the radar list of Value Analysis Committees, Strategic Procurement and the C-Suite as an area for cost reduction. What made John unique and memorable is that he proactively took the initiative to work with the OR team and the hospital staff to reduce their overall costs. Instead of trying to fight the hospitals cost reduction efforts, he embraced the new dynamic by offering new methods to standardize products, reduce utilization and waste…lean techniques. While his revenue per unit sold decreased considerably, the volume of products bought by the hospital increased significantly. Through this process, he became a valued partner, a valued extension and contributing member of the OR materials management team. He is accepted as a trusted business advisor who brings additional credibility to the staff. As a result of his work behavior, John became “memorable” to the team and administrative staff. In the customer’s eyes, the key differentiator was John, not the product he sold.
Becoming memorable is more than just a catchy name (Example- Bono), or a visual experience (Example-Michael Jackson and his glove); it’s standing out based on performance. It’s about how you, a sales professional, execute your tasks on a routine basis without hesitation. We have provided a few examples for you to review, there are many more. We would welcome your thoughts and ideas. Please let us know how you have become memorable.
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