In 1998, I was the first inside sales person at a company that had 17 outbound sales reps and 36 total employees. Gee, did management sure believe in having a “sales organization” – half our company was sales. This company created web pages consisting of company financial information that mimicked our many publicly traded companies’ websites. In 1998, it was pretty novel. I made 400-500 calls each week, setting up appointments for one of the many outside sales professionals. It was my first East coast job, and it soon turned into the inside sales manager position.
It was in this position that the concept of being memorable was really driven home, because often I would set up a whole series of meetings for one of my outbound sales colleagues, who would fly into his geographic territory, have meetings, and fly home. These trips cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the high cost (actual plus opportunity costs) of the salesperson’s time out of the office.
I always thought it amazing when, between a slight gap in follow up on the rep’s part, and some time passing – that the company who met with our rep during their very expensive trip out to them amazingly — forgot who it was that they met with. What? I couldn’t believe it – neither could the sales rep. They learned to follow up more, and I learned that even when you fly in to see people, do a great presentation, and leave brochures and business cards – they don’t always remember you.
Today, I got a call from a woman I knew for several years through a chamber of commerce. She left the chamber, went on to other things, and wanted to reach me again. She forgot my name. So, she called another former chamber colleague who is no longer at the chamber, and she knew exactly who she meant – but SHE couldn’t think of my name either. They said they rattled their brains – coming up, finally, with Lori, but no last name or company. The chamber directory didn’t seem to help. FINALLY, as if by a miracle, my last name came up, and then one of them googled me. Whew! That was a close one.
I did not keep in touch with either of them – which really is unusual for me. I wil now though.
Homework: who can you send a hand-written note to, whom you haven’t spoken with in a while, or at least an e-mail? Don’t do what many of us do and assume people will always remember you — they won’t. Who do you need to make sure you keep in touch with? Take ten minutes and catch up.