The Rhythm of Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing is a dance where you must be attuned to rhythm in order to succeed.

Have you ever heard of the term “sales tension”? This and similar phrases are used to describe the dynamic nature of sales and marketing, the constant back and forth that exists between yourself and your customer. In order to succeed, your job is not to force the customer one way or another but rather follow the natural progression of movement that binds both of you to the same process. Does that sound too esoteric for you? Here, then, are some concrete steps for you to take in order to make rhythm happen:

1. Be Aware: Listen and be receptive to what your customer is telling you. Gather information and do research before suggesting a solution. In sales and marketing you must first receive before you give. Be open to what is happening when your customer engages and then throughout the sales and marketing process. What do they need? What do they need to know? Before any move you make you must first gauge what your customer is saying and doing.

2. Be Responsive: The worst thing in the world of sales and marketing is the cookie-cutter professional who is ready to prescribe solutions without listening to a word a customer has to say. Or, worse, pretending to listen and then prescribing the same old thing to each and every customer as if they hadn’t heard a word the customer said. Stop. Listen. Respond. Remember that you are engaged in a dialogue and not a monologue and that your customer is part of the process.

3. Be Flexible: Building on point 2, remember that sometimes the best agenda is to have no agenda at all. Like the Zen master says, “you cannot receive unless you first empty your cup.” True sales and marketing is consultative which means that you first assess what your customer needs and then prescribe accordingly. If you have the wrong preconceptions about what your customer needs and wants then you will end up stepping on their toes and ruining the magic of the moment.

4. Be Patient: Sometimes you will find that you know where the progression of steps in the sales and marketing process is going before your customer does. In sales and marketing the temptation becomes to start prescribing a solution without letting your customer discover your solution for themselves. Remember that your customer needs to learn your story and that there is a set number of steps that you must lead them through in order to be successful. Slow down and wait for them.

5. Be Guiding: Where the rhythm of sales and marketing differs from, say, ballroom dancing is that your purpose is to help guide your customer to a solution. What solution? One that you arrive at jointly as a result of your devotion to your customer’s best interests coupled with their trust in you as a result. Together you feel each other out and build a relationship based on finding out what works best to help solve your customer’s wants and needs. Enjoy the dance and remember that every step should either build the relationship or progress towards a solution.

When you understand the rhythm of sales and marketing every interaction with a customer or prospect becomes enjoyable. Some will dance with you and others will not. With each customer you will learn more about yourself as well as them. Follow your instincts. Do not force things. Observe everything, allow the process to unfold and very soon you will become a master at making business happen while making customers happy!

How to Improve Your Job Search if You’re a Top Sales and Marketing Executive

We talk to dozens of sales and marketing candidates every month as we perform executive searches for top technology manufacturing companies in the Pacific Northwest. As we talk to these individuals there are a few things that we see that candidates can do to improve their chances as they’re out networking and interviewing for job opportunities.

The first idea I’m going to talk about is “knowing what you’re looking for”. Everybody wants to help a potential candidate with their networking and to improve their job search possibilities. But frequently, when people come to me looking for a job, they aren’t able to clearly articulate what it is they love to do and what it is they’re looking to do. In other words, they really haven’t developed a clear understanding and profile of what it is that they’re looking for in their next job, and as a result of that, it’s more difficult for people like me to help them, to get them what they want.

So, if you’re a top sales and marketing candidate and you’re looking for a new position, before you even start to talk to people who you think might be able to help you, take some time to focus on developing a clear profile of the exact job that you would like to have, or the exact types of jobs that you would like to consider. You will find that your networking will become a lot more productive, because people who you meet will have a clear sense of how to help you.

It’s real easy to do this. Take out a clean sheet of paper and write out a clear set of parameters about the kind of job that you’d like to have. What sort of position should it be? Is it a VP or Director level? An individual contributor position? Do you want to manage people or do you want to work as a lead salesperson? Which industries are you interested in, and how do they map to your previous experience? It’s very important for you to be able to show how the industries that you want to work in relate to the industries where you already have experience. If not, then you’ll need to focus on your transferable skills.

Always prepare a clear profile of the kind of company that you’re looking for, both in terms of size and culture. Do you want to work for a big company? Or do you want to work for a smaller, start-up or entrepreneurial-oriented business. Those two environments are completely different. Clearly it’s difficult to help somebody look for a job in a large company if all they’ve done is work for small businesses in the past, or vise versa. So make sure to define the size of the company as a key parameter.

Also, do you want business to business sales and marketing or business to consumer? It’s important to articulate the selling channels and end users for the products or services of the company that you’d like to work with.

What sort of sales and marketing channels should your target employer have? Direct, or indirect? Is your experience in direct sales and direct marketing to end users, or is your experience working through third party channel partners and resellers? Finally, what sort of growth opportunity are you looking for, and what are your long term goals?

These are all the kinds of things that are very important for you to think through before you start your job search. If you do this first, you’ll find that the job will be a lot easier. Why? Because individuals who you contact will know exactly what you’re looking for and it will give them a clear idea of who they can send you to, and what kinds of opportunities they should be thinking about on your behalf.

Candidates who come to me with no clear understanding of where they’re going and what they want are candidates that I can’t very easily help. Candidates that have a clearly articulated understanding of where they’re going and what they want are the ones that I can send to the right people. So, if you’re interested in getting help from others, remember they want to help you, but you need to help them to help you by clearly articulating what it is that you’re looking for.

Don’t Be Ridiculous! Learn Good Sales and Marketing Techniques

When you first start looking into different network marketing companies, you’ll hear such nonsense as:

“The product sells itself!”

Or…

“Someone would have to be stupid to not want to earn an extra $5,000/mo working just 8-20 hours per week!”

Or…

“We don’t sell. We share!”

If you believe this b.s., then you believe that there’s no need to learn any kind of sales and marketing skills. Of
course, this is not only false, it’s a guarantee that you will get no where in building your business.

Another fallacy, that is as common and just as deadly as the “it’s sharing and not selling” myth, is commonly known as the “we build our businesses by word Of mouth” myth. I bet you thought that the reason network marketing is so powerful is because we use word of mouth – which everyone knows is the most powerful form of advertising. And it is. But you and I don’t use it.

As the owner of our own businesses, we have a very definite financial interest in the sale of our products and our
opportunity. Because of this, when we “share” them with someone, it is not word of mouth. It is selling. In its
truest form, word of mouth means that the person who talks to others about a given product has nothing to gain by doing so. There are certainly varying degrees of word of mouth where people can be incentivized to talk about
something, but, in the purest sense of the phrase, its best when they genuinely like the product so much that they
feel compelled to tell others about it.

It’s an unbiased, third party review. You and I are not unbiased. And we are not third party.

Are there ways that we can realize the benefits of word of mouth advertising? Sure, but while our customers can practice word of mouth, we personally cannot. A business owner talking about their own business is never word of mouth.

Again, the reason that this belief that we can generate business through our own word of mouth efforts is so dangerous is that it lulls us into believing that we don’t need to learn how to sell.

Of course, there are those who teach us to take the opposite approach – that we should always be selling. These people frighten me. They are the ones that will hunt you down to the point that you’re so worn out by avoiding them that you end up buying something or joining their opportunity just to get rid of them.

Even in the company I’m partnered with now, I hear the advice, “you can never say the wrong thing to the right person and you can never say the right thing to the wrong person,” so “when in doubt, blurt it out!” Early on, when I believed that my upline was always right, I took this advice. I still cringe at the the thought of how idiotic I must have sounded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm…” But many people take this to mean that enthusiasm is the only thing required to be successful and that the more you flip out about your opportunity, the more successful you’ll be.

Speaking confidently about your opportunity is one thing. Foaming at the mouth is another. The former can be attractive. The later will only drive people away.

Other poor sales techniques involve arm-twisting, hard closing and deception.

A widely held line of thought among sales people is that, a prospect saying “No, I’m not interested” is really saying “Yes, please harass me some more” and is giving a signal to really pull out all the stops.

But in truth, if someone says they’re not interested, guess what? They probably aren’t interested! This will be a revelation to many.

It’s the practice of these kind of bad sales and marketing tactics that gives network marketers – and salespeople in general – a bad name. It’s also why so many people cringe at the thought of having to sell. They don’t want to have to lower themselves to this kind of behavior.

But there is hope for the new network marketer. Sales does not have to be this ridiculous or this hard. In fact, when combined with good marketing, it’s much easier and much different than most people realize. And there are a host of good trainers out there that are attempting to change the nature and perception of the network marketing industry.