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Allan Feifer
President, DEC International

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Top of Mind

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Top of Mind

What does it take to be an ace salesperson? The perfect product that is in demand? Great training, an incredible script, superior leads, a wonderful team that delivers on time and perfectly? What about better pricing than your competitors and industry respect? Could you name some other factors that would ensure your success? I’ll bet you could. However, none of these factors by themselves or in combination will not ensure your success.

In over 40 years of buying and selling I’ve heard every reason for success or lack thereof. I’ve seen this or that surefire sales technique, method, strategy or fad and, I’ve seen them reborn and recast in different names and at different times. Ever since the first wine was sold by a merchant perhaps 20,000 years ago some were good at it and some were not. Why are some more successful than others?

 

The first and overriding issue is a simple one; there must be a need. In the absence of need you are simply doing missionary work. Missionary work is important too many industries but ultimately it won’t pay the bills. Neither will being an expert or even industry guru ensure that the till keeps ringing. So what is important after need? Opportunity.

Opportunity can be defined as the pursuit of perfect timing. That is to say you are there when needed and thereby occupy the inside track on your business. A guarantee? No. But let’s state something obvious. No one gets all the business whether they are least expensive or have the best capability. In almost all industries there are a plethora of players that stratify themselves in this or that market niche and wind up competing for business. Many will find a profitable place in the universe of available opportunities and get “their share.” Over any given span of 10 years or more though, you’ll notice that some grow, some stay the same and some (many) just disappear. What makes the difference and why is this critically important to you?

Strive to stay “Top of Mind”. Top of Mind is you, being thought of when a need occurs. You and that need create an “Opportunity” for you to satisfy. The trick of course is to be thought of when that need occurs. How do you do that? I’ll state something that took me years to learn—you can’t nag your way to remembrance. At least not in a constructive way that helps. So what does work today?

  • Staying in personal contact on a regular basis. Not nagging, but a regular personal touch. This does not mean leaving a voicemail or email either, you have to get through periodically and know what you want to say that is relevant and even welcome/interesting to the prospect.
  • Contributing to the success of the prospect’s business. Provide news, facts and other information that is welcomed by the prospect at regular intervals. This could be a well-written newsletter, personal email with an attachment or some other form of communication that amounts to reaching out to the prospect in a positive manner.
  • Share how your company and you are important to the industry or community. Do you serve on industry boards/committees or have a breakthrough product or service that helps the industry? Do you or your company do charity work or otherwise have a positive impact in the community? If you are a good industry citizen, toot your own horn!
  • Offer training not tied to an order. Go to industry events and wave the flag. Join industry associations and serve on this or that committee. All these actions and more reinforce in the prospect’s mind that you are a credible and reliable industry player; someone you would want to be associated with.

The sum total of these actions and others actions keep you Top of Mind more often than any of your competitors. There is a subtle additional effect that translates over to your straight selling situations from being omnipresent and that is industry credibility. Some call it the halo effect. The holy grail of marketing is that people automatically think of you or your company when your industry is involved. You can’t buy that recognition; it only comes about from tallying all your other good actions that lead to a general recognition for you and your company. What we have described is an enviable goal that does not come easily. It requires a well thought out plan, execution and lots of work to stay on top. But hey! If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Good Selling!

Allan J. Feifer

AllanF@DEC-International.com

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