I remember an incident in the summer of 2004 when I was working in the field for Dale Carnegie Training. I had just finished a call and closed the deal. When I came back into the office, I started entering the information into our CRM system. At the time, we were using individual copies of ACT synchronized to one central database requiring everybody to either type in the info at the office or use dial-up to synch up their databases. Information transfer was a mess and coordinating activity and knowledge between the sales reps was difficult.
This was well before we moved to SalesForce.com and centralized the CRM system along with everybody’s activity.
When I looked in ACT, not only did I discover that this client had an existing record, but I also discovered that Bob had been working with this particular customer. He had sent out literature out, made phone calls, contacted the client numerous times and still got nowhere with them.
On this particular day, I went in, met the client and closed the deal.
I felt low. I liked Bob. Still do. I think he is a stand-up guy. The last thing I wanted to do was sneak in behind him and grab the sale after he’s done all of the heavy lifting.
So I approached Bob the next day and told him what happened.
His comment was “That’s alright. If they couldn’t remember me after all of the time I’ve spent with them, then I wasn’t effective in making a lasting impression.”
I’ve often thought about that situation. I can remember similar sales calls where I did all of the heavy lifting with a client and another sales rep unknowingly came in behind me and closed the sale. It didn’t feel good.
But I’m reminded of Bob’s statement and his attitude. If I didn’t do enough to be memorable to the client, then I probably didn’t deserve the business either.
Then there are those other conversations I’ve had with clients that sounded like this: “Yeah, we got a call from someone in your company yesterday, but we told them that we already had a rep working on our programs.”
Being memorable doesn’t have to be hit-or-miss. We can put it to a process. Ultimately, it comes down to being a valuable resource to your customers.
In this age where clients can buy anything they want online with no hassles at all, what value do you, the sales rep, bring to the table that justifies your client doing business with you?
The next time you are in a sales call with a client, delivering a presentation or in a job interview, ask yourself this simple question:
“What can I do right now to make an impression on my audience that will have them remember me as a valuable resource when I am not here?”