After a long career of climbing the ladder in Manufacturing Sales and Management a few years ago I stopped. I was done. Burned out, over the hill, out to pasture? No, not yet!
I wanted to go back to what I love, direct sales.
However, I was worried, it had been a long time since I had a territory and was the direct sales guy. The world has changed, did I still have what it takes to be successful?
Working with Manufacturing Marketing Group (www.mmmatters.com), a HubSpot Partner, gave me access to the wide world of HubSpot education. And I have taken advantage of this training, most recently completing the aggressively named “Pipeline Generation Bootcamp” led by Dan Tyre of HubSpot.
Great Course. I learned a lot. The world has changed. But not as much as we think. And here is why.
When I started my career in the late 80’s I was selling to textile manufacturers in South of the United States. And I was a Yankee, in the South, who lived there. There is a joke about that, but too many swear words in the joke, so I will skip it. The first step was to build a relationship and trust with my future customer. Lots of visits, lots of calls, and always remembering which teams the customer followed, which driver was his or her favorite, the kids, the spouse……well you get it. A relationship needed to be built. The relationship was built as all good relationships are built. Listening, understanding, doing what you say you will do, and making the person’s life across the desk from you easier and better.
Once you built the trust and relationship with the future customer only then would you start to try to understand their pain points and challenges. But you had to have their trust first. Then you would address those challenges with the solutions you brought to the table. But, the relationship and trust came first.
Today, the idea of spending weeks and months to build a relationship with a prospect is not easy. In fact, it is almost a laughable scenario. Your prospect appears to you armed and ready with all the information they need to address their challenge. Or at least they think they know the way forward.
And here we are at the point that Sales hasn’t changed in 30 years, or for that matter, 1000 years. Building trust and a relationship between the prospect and yourself is where the prospect goes from prospect to customer. And the relationship is built the same way it always has been built, listening, understanding and doing what you say you will do.
A lot has changed in 30 years. How we communicate with prospects, how we find prospects, how we educate prospects, and how prospects learn about us. But what has not changed is that before the purchase order is signed, your prospect needs to trust you. And they need to trust that you have the solution that will solve their pain.
So, how do you build that trust…….stay tuned. I have more to say.