As a sales rep in today's world, you have never had more technical options to help you do your job....enter social media and the ease of communication from anywhere, anytime. Where would we be without our Cell (Smart) Phones, Email and Facebook? Your hardware and applications offer you direct connection to a wealth of information and "People"....prospective clients. Are you sure you are using these tools to maximize your prospecting efforts?
I'd like to share the following journal from a rep I worked who now sells in the Vancouver, British Columbia market. With a strong desire to land a client and a bit of strategic creativity using today's technology, this rep had huge success. The following story will make you think twice about how you use your electronic devices for work.
Here is the stream from the email exchange I had with Christina Armstrong.
I'm sure you are familiar with Five Hour Energy drink. Joe is the man responsible for advertising this product. He's based in Toronto and makes decisions for all marketing and advertising across Canada for this product in all mediums. He's responsible for marketing in the Vancouver, B.C. area.
I had called and emailed him to no response, so my challenge was to get him to respond to me and start the communication channels working.
I decided to look him up on Facebook, found him and wrote him an email. I had just asked to be his friend on Facebook and to please accept my friend request as he may be pleasantly surprised. I had changed my profile picture to a bottle of Five Hour Energy. To my delight he accepted and finally wrote me back. He said he thought I was a nut! I was thrilled and felt victorious that I got a response from him, as he already had an accurate description of what I was all about!
This was in the fall of 2009. I had opened up the channels of communication and he was pretty open to talk to me. Although he didn't respond to all my emails, I got a response to the majority. We even had a couple of conference calls and I pitched him based on what he said he was trying to achieve with his product, but was getting turned down.
It is now February 2010 and Vancouver is hosting the Olympics. I'm sitting at my desk thinking how can I get Stewart's attention today, as I had just pitched him another package last week and he wasn't giving me a decision.
I decided to compose another email. This is the email:
Subject: It's a dreary day in Vancouver
Good morning Joe,
Today is a bleak, rainy and cloudy day in Vancouver and the temptation to go out and enjoy the weather has now passed. Did I ever tell you about a fable that is notorious around here called "The Roger's Ogre"? It's not really a fable, but a true story, as I have met him. He's my sales manager. He creeps down the hallway with a slight limp and every once in a while roars his displeasure regarding sales and accounts. Yesterday, I had a very disturbing encounter with this creature regarding you and he wanted to know where you stood.
I could only tell him what you had told me, which was "he's still thinking about it". Gawd..the venom and vile that spewed from his mouth was grotesque. He asked me what I had done to try and move you off the "thinking seat" and I said, "I asked him and he never responded". Again, I had to turn my head and close my eyes and I won't share with you the sight before me.
How about we move forward with the proposal I sent you on Monday? Please Joe..help me not encounter this horrible, horrible "Roger's Ogre". I implore you...help..me!
This was his response: Tell the boss I am gone golfing for a few days, will touch base on Monday. Have a wonderful balance of the games.
He eventually turned it down, but it just challenged me even more. I would wake up in the morning thinking, how am I going to turn this around? How am I going to get this man to say "Yes" instead of "No"? I accepted this internal challenge.
The next morning I set my alarm for 6am and when it went off I sleepily grabbed my phone and called him. I had "bed voice" but I wanted him to know he was the first thing I thought of in the morning. Now I wanted advice if I should have oatmeal or cream of wheat. He never answered, but I would leave him messages.
Spring has now arrived and I've planned a fabulous trip to New York and Paris. I was sitting at a car dealer client and was just about to leave and an idea hit me. I asked my client if there was a gas station close to him. He showed me one right around the corner. I ran in and bought two bottles of Five Hour Energy.
I ran back into the office and put my plan into action.
I sent him another email that was entitled: "The first day of work for the twins".
In it were pictures of the Twins (the two bottles of Five Hour Energy) in various states around our radio station. The first one showed the twins getting their security passes. The second was them doing the morning show propped up towards the mike. The third one showed me holding them giving them trouble as they were getting into mischief not knowing "the Rogers way of doing things".
I told him that I was planning on leaving for my trip in a few days and I would like to have this put to bed before I leave. His response was, "Enjoy the trip and we will touch base when I get back".
The Twins came with me to Paris. I took a beautiful picture of the boys in front of a prop of the Eiffel Tower and sent Joe an email postcard telling him how much fun the boys were having and they would be back soon.
I got back from my trip in early April. One of the first things I did was call Joe and tell him the Twins got detained in customs, but I fought for them and were released into my custody. We then talked about the campaign and he said he came up with some money for me. He had $30,000 to give me for a five month campaign.
I had been pitching him far more than this and I was disappointed! I told him we should wait to start until we could add more money to that budget. I wanted to give him a good campaign and for both stations that wouldn't cut it.
May 13th, my birthday and I decided to send Joe a Happy Birthday to Me email and asked him for my birthday present. I wanted him to confirm a campaign I sent him the prior week which was for 65 grand over five months.
We shot a few emails back and forth and he sent me the email I had been waiting 9 months to hear. Please move forward!! VICTORY!! This was the best birthday present ever!! Nothing is more satisfying than working this hard for a final conclusion that comes to fruition.
He asked for my sales managers email address. He sent him an email basically saying how much he enjoyed this whole process and although I was very persistent I didn't cross the line.
I told the Ogre I'd mastered the art of successfully stalking a client without annoying him.
Five Hour Energy has committed over $100,000 with us in the last ten months and I got to sit down with Joe, give him a big hug and have lunch with me. I sent him an email after this and thanked him for making me work and think unlike any other client had ever done in the past.
Obviously this approach can't be used with everyone. I had a client that was light hearted and had a great sense of humour, as well as a manager who didn't mind being the brunt of my jokes and emails on a regular occasion, something which is quite easy to do with my sales manager.
The moral of this tale is I think if we can use our imaginations more and do things that are different and unique; it helps us stand apart and create an impression. Be fearless. What do you have to lose??? The Sale??
And there Sean...you have some of it!
(Sean Note: I'm sure everyone will be calling on 5 Hour Energy now.)
Jack FM/Fun FM