“When was the last time your collateral materials closed a sale for you?”
Silence on the other end of the phone. I was talking with a business owner who ran a software company and was also responsible for selling. The problem was, his selling activity was limited to sending out a brochure or shooting out an email to which he considered to be a viable prospect. And wouldn’t you guess; no responses from his efforts! Finally, I heard.
“Well, Keith. I thought if I can send them some information, they would see the benefits and be interested enough to reach out to me.”
“And how is that strategy working for you?”
The answer; it wasn’t.
If it did, then the people you target as a potential prospect would be spending their entire day reading UNSOLICITIED emails from all of the salespeople who are approaching them and sending them their valuable information. There’s no cheese down this tunnel.
Sending out collateral material in an effort to bring in more sales rather than utilizing a better sales process and a series of well crafted question is the same as telling someone to start smoking cigarettes in order to give up chewing gum. Replacing one bad habit with another isn’t the answer. Delivering unsolicited information to a prospect is the same thing as saying, “Hi, I know you’re busy and you have many things on your plate, but stop what you’re doing because I want you to read what I sent you.” Not only are you an interruption but now you have the audacity to ask THEM to do something; to invest their very precious and limited time into reading your material or email; before you even have a chance to speak with them?
There are some major pitfalls and consequences when relying too heavily on your website, emails and marketing brochures as a crutch to do the selling. And since the majority of the time, management and your marketing department can do a much better job coaching and training salespeople how to utilize these lovely tools, it´s critical to learn how to use these tools to complement and enhance your selling efforts rather than using them as a replacement for what only a professionally coached salesperson can do best.
Collateral information is so widely misused that it acts as a crutch for many salespeople who are using it to compensate for their failure to develop their selling skills. The next time you find yourself in a situation where you can take the easy way out by sending literature in the mail or shooting out an email, reconsider the following approach instead. Situations where the salesperson is the one who actually destroys a selling opportunity are totally preventable.
You: “Mr. Prospect, I appreciate your interest in learning more about our product. To ensure that I send you the appropriate material, what information would you like to see that is most important to you when making a purchasing decision?”
Prospect: “Well, I’d like to learn a little more about your company and exactly what features your product offers that the product I’m currently using does not offer.”
You: “Great! Thanks for letting me know. Based on what you are looking for, the last thing I want to do is put another task on your plate that you have to complete, such as reviewing the information I send you. I know how valuable your time is. My goal is to make your life easier, not more difficult. That’s why I’m a bit hesitant to send you something that may do you more of a disservice without learning more about you and your current situation, goals and experience with the product that you are currently using.
Based on what you’ve shared with me, the best brochure I can send you is me! Being an interactive, walking-talking brochure, I can ensure you that all of your questions and concerns are addressed. Since you were planning on putting some time aside to read the information I send you, let’s schedule a brief meeting instead. This way, if you still have a need for additional information, I would be happy to tailor it around your specific needs and objectives, okay?”