Nobody cares how much you know until they know
how much you care.
This is a great quote from a very quotable person, Theodore Roosevelt, and it is particularly important to today’s successful salesperson. If you follow me (and if you don’t, why not?) you know that I am constantly, and perhaps too frequently, trying to convince you to write a book that will bring value to your customers and prospects. OK, so I know that 99% of you are never going to write a book. What can you do instead? If you accept Mr Roosevelt’s advice here are a few ideas:
- instead of a book perhaps you could prepare a single sheet of information to share that will offer some value. It doesn’t have to be about your product or service but could simply be a mutual interest like fishing, cooking, good wines, a travel destination
- your client may have been quoted in an industry article or newspaper, cut it out, read it and ask about it the next time you meet. Asking a probing question is much better than just saying that you saw the article – you care if you want more information yourself.
- ask more about your prospect’s business, its problems, successes – what do they actually do? I am always amazed when I ask a salesperson some detail about a prospect’s company and they don’t know anything other than that they should buy our product or service.
- being of value to a customer means taking an interest beyond the order pad – it means showing that you know enough about them that you can recommend and offer real life solutions, not just features and benefits
- knowing who your client’s customers are will help you to provide more targeted and valuable solutions – ask who they sell to – who is their ideal customer
To Mr. Justin Trudeau,
Mr. Trudeau, the events of the past few days and the hasty decisions of your government are keeping me awake tonight. You started your tenure as leader of this great country by honouring our armed forces on Remembrance Day and respecting the sacrifice of our citizens in the fight to keep the world safe. You are currently taking your place on the world stage in the G 20 conference in Turkey to represent Canada, a nation of respect and honour. You witnessed the senseless slaughter of innocent people in Paris as terrorism has yet again reared its ugly and cowardly head. And, I cannot believe this, you have ordered our troops out of the fight against ISIS. The connections among Remembrance Day, Paris and troop withdrawal are too powerful to ignore. This is a country of the brave and courageous who stand on guard for thee – thee meaning all people who need our help. You have committed to bringing 25,000 refugees from Syria to a better life in our land – we have welcomed refugees to Canada since our inception. Yet, we would abandon the fight to protect their homeland??? In our brief history as a free country, we have never run away from the battlefield but rather, as witnessed on Parliament Hill on November 11, we have run into the fight. Why are we now abandoning the greatest fight of this generation – the fight against terrorism? We do a great disservice to the brave young men and women who have sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom by leaving the fight to protect what is good, free and right in this world. Now is not the time to run away but rather the time to recommit more resources in the fight against terrorism, wherever it cowers. Perhaps your election promise to withdraw our troops was “politically correct” but it is time for leaders to be leaders and make the right decision not necessarily the popular one – this is what you were elected to do. Please admit the error of premature withdrawal and show the world and your country that we are the Canada of our forbearers and that we stand for the rights of the innocent against the tyranny of those who would kill and slaughter for their personal aggrandizement. Support our troops with better resources and commit them to doing the job they freely offered to do – make the world a better place and in so doing, make our country the proud land that it needs to be. This is when the going gets tough, when we do not abandon our allies, when we stand up for our values, when we protect the innocent, when we stay on the battlefield until the job is done.
Robert J Bannon
Investment sales is a highly competitive business full of type A’s who sometimes need to expand their universe in order to bring balance to their lives. That was the message from a senior vice president of a very large investment management firm when he asked me to speak to his sales force. He had read my first book and wanted me to share how hiking the West Coast Trail created a pathway for change in my own life. I was only too happy to comply but I was in for a surprise.
Invited into his spacious office by his assistant, he offered me a coffee before my presentation and we sat down to get to know each other. He knew that I had been a stockbroker in my younger days and felt that gave me added credibility and trust to speak to his people in an environment that I understood. He was convinced that my message would help them in both their personal and business lives. I was flattered.
We exchanged the who, what, where, when and why of family and professional life and then he gave me surprise number one: a hard copy of the book that he had written. He, too, was a published author. What a powerful business card because that was what he told me. He used his book as a business card. As I glanced through it, I was surprised to learn about its contents – surprise number two, it wasn’t a book extolling the features and benefits of his service or product. It was a story about a young boy who wanted a new bike. Instead of going to the store and buying it, the boy’s father showed and supported his son in learning how to save for something he wanted.
My host’s book created a learning moment and a teaching moment giving great value to people everywhere. Sure, he included a personal bio and contact info so that readers would be able to discuss their own financial needs with him but he gave value FIRST. I learned that he would often donate copies to various schools and youth groups in addition to giving them to prospective clients. He had not scrimped. This was not a “digital only” book but rather, a professionally bound hard copy with pictures and illustrations that would be impressive to adults and children alike and it taught a lifelong lesson to the reader. Brilliant!
He shared with me the fact that he credited the book with his fast rise up the corporate ladder of his company as the book not only attracted clients but the attention of his superiors (heck, they were using his book to help them in their own families). What a powerful learning lesson this presentation became for me. What an outstanding idea – create a book that offers real time value to its readers as a calling card to attract more business. It had set this gentleman apart from his fellow salespeople and his competitors in other companies. It resulted in more clients, more income and a better position. It could do the same for you.
The big take away here is that in order to make this work, your book needs to give the reader value not just a sales pitch. If you give them the value first, they will give you the time to offer your product or service. Here’s my pitch: if you need help organizing your book, you can find help here. And if you want to float an idea by me, use the contact form on this website and I promise to get back to you with any help that I can give. Oh, and if you think this little story has merit, please pass it along using the “share” buttons.