A new problem
Today the whole struggle with the digital tools is that people are talking more about themselves. Those who talk about their clients or others are highly successful automatically. This made me think. This talking all the time about themselves seems to be a problematic behaviour. Is this a new problem? Or an old problem with a new face? I think it is a new problem. Part of the problem is that, with digital tools, everyone thinks he or she can sell. It is never that way. You will understand this if you were a part of traditional rigour that we underwent in the world of traditional marketing. No such training is given today with respect to digital tools and selling and hence there is a misconception that everyone who has a presence will be able to sell. Its not about reaching people, but about engaging them in such a way that they buy. Go read this beautiful article from my favourite author Mr. Chris Brogan Are You Turning People Off?
How did we succeed in traditional world of marketing?
When I look back to my representative days two decades back, I remember, when we joined big pharma companies and underwent initial training, 70% of the training was about doctors as customers, relationships with them, their ecosystem of nurses and hospitals, patients as their clients and understanding our job in the midst of these. So when we went to do our job, we spoke to HCPs(health care practitioners) about “them” all the time. “Them” refers to our own doctor customers. We understood more, cared more and talked all the time about “them”. We infact learned much more from “them” than what companies can think of teaching. Thats how we became successful. That experience became the visa for everything that we dreamt in our career. We learnt to convert doctor’s invitation saying “I have no time” or “Two minutes I will give you” to have a chat with them for 15-45 minutes and took all their time and promoted all that we wanted.Throughout my career the companies that I worked with including FMCG bigwigs, had this practice of teaching how-to engage with the customers. They taught us how to be genuinely interested in the customer. They taught us how to make the customer’s buying experience as an incidental thing to the relationship that we built.
Only during the later annual-training-programmes and campaign-training-programmes we were more drilled about product-knowledge and were taught more about the company, products and associated details and all the while fine-tuning the already-mastered skills of relationship selling. Here too we learnt much more from the experience of the customers and companies used that as a feedback and disseminated it further.
Now read Chris’s recipe in the above linked post and I quote him to sum up this post of mine:
You have a lot going on. People want to know about it. But it’s how you approach it that will make or break what you get from the effort.
Shed that “I know it all”. Dont jump to bombard the customers with your monologues. Thats sure recipe for a disaster. Rather learn it with patience. Practice inviting talks with customers. Do mock sessions, if needed, and see how it goes. You will understand it better.
Take help if needed. If you want to talk about it, I will be happy to talk to you.