The Social Sales Rep

In all of my years of sales experience (and there are probably too many), am I yet to find someone who has a genuine love for cold calling. Why would you love this thankless and arduous task?

Why would you want to ring someone you don’t know, try to get past someone that is there to prevent you getting to the person you want to speak to as if their life depends on it, and if you are lucky enough to get past this gatekeeper, you then have just a few seconds to open a pitch to engage your quarry without knowing anything about them, what they want, what they are about, what they like or dislike, and you don’t even know what language they speak.

I have been fortunate, or unfortunate, depends on how you see it, to have sat on both sides of this fence. I have done the cold call piece, tried and tried again to perfect my pitch, open the door and the opportunity to sell my product, and I have also been the quarry where a salesperson has got past my PA and had the direct opportunity to try to sell me something. I see no reason to be rude to cold callers, I will listen to what they have to say and politely say thank you if it is not right or ask for more information if it is something of interest, but it does take a lot to impress me. However, I have noticed a new breed of salesperson has arrived on the scene, and these guys are the ones who may be the sales stars of the future, the Social Sales Rep.

Last week I was at an event with one of my clients, I was at the coffee station during the afternoon break when a suited, and booted young guy comes up to me, “Hi Richard, please can I introduce myself,” he shook my hand and gave me his business card, you may think that there is nothing wrong with this, however his next line was superb, “I read your blog last week and thought it was great, there was some really relevant content, and I wondered if you would have a few minutes for me to discuss it”, ok, an impressive start, he knew who I was, and he had looked at and read some articles on my website. A couple of minutes of interesting chatter ensued, and then he came to the crunch, “I see that you are working with XXXX at the moment, and can see why you work with them as you have previously worked with YYYY and ZZZZ”, wow, who was this guy, a stalker?, “I have a question to ask you, I want to get a meeting with the head of NPD at XXXX but can’t get past his PA to discuss some new innovations we have, you are a Sales and Business Development guy, you know how hard it is to get to the right people, would you be able to help me?”, I looked at him, trying to weigh him up. “OK, if you tell me who you want to see, why and what you know about them, and then tell me why I should help you”, I suddenly thought I was being harsh, but let him continue. The young pup went through a whole 5 minutes of knowledgeable information on my client, who he needed to see, why, what he could do for them, he knew their background, he knew my background, what I and my client had blogged about and tweeted about and a whole myriad of other relevant information. How did he know so much, he was the perfect Social Sales Rep, he had used all of the social media platforms to research everything he needed to know, as we say so often in sales, Knowledge is Power. I suggested that he tell the Head of NPD at XXXX this himself, “how? I cant get past anyone to get to him”, the young sales person said, “Simple” I retorted “Do to them exactly as you did to me, you have just had 15 minutes of my time through your innovative approach, and it has worked for you”, a broad smile came across his face, “and if it doesn’t work, then call me and I will see what I can do to help”.

Social Sales did not make him a good rep, but the use of Social Sales Skills did. By having the best information the Social Sales Rep can manage and make enriching conversations of relevant material, making all contacts far more effective, and leading to opportunities to sell more. My Social Sales Rep could make 4 contacts that were all engaging and effective, other less forward thinking reps could make 30 Cold Calls and reach 29 dead ends. Whose job would you rather have?

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