The Lincoln - Douglas debates are rife with sales techniques. That’s a disparaging remark considering the importance of the impending election and the ramifications it would have on the direction of the United States. But, none the less, my myopicy did not precede me to see what I could only see and therefore did see; some darn good sales techniques.
I would love to bore you away for some time rambling on about each and every quote I found in the debates that related to selling but you may have better things to do with your life. Fine. Allow me this one point, please:
I will paraphrase Douglas as he talks about Kansas and the slave issue there and how he is in favor of it and Lincoln is not. Douglas says that Lincoln trusts the people of Kansas to govern themselves but not to govern their own slaves. Lincoln replies, “No man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent.”
A business, a sales organization, is not a democracy but it is not slavery either, at least not in this country it’s not. The sales people have chosen to stay for various reasons of their own and they are free to leave. So what is the best way to govern sales people? I believe it is to allow them to be as free as possible within the confines of limited rules, limited government. This is about profit. It just so happens to be ethical. The two are linked. But that’s a subject for another posting.
Here’s an example: I have a guy that works here and he’s a great salesman, naturally. And like a lot of naturally great salespeople, the very few that I have worked with, his personality is broad, vivid, expansive. That made it hard for me to manage him. I thought I had to pay close attention to him, micromanage, keep him focused on what I perceived to be the “message”. But that didn’t work. I couldn’t corral him. So I let him go. Go at it his way not fire him. And as long as he didn’t lie or misrepresent us, I let him be. He’s still here and he’s still one of our top people.
The problem was me, not him. I was over governing him. The thing that frustrates me more than anything else, being over governed, is exactly what I was doing to him. Now I’m aware of that. That revelation came to me from the Lincoln Douglas debates.
I thought I was being indulgent my time watching a lecture about those debates. I was interested but am quick to judge an action that will not directly benefit me or my family or my business as a leisure activity. And although this was a weekend, I felt I had some work to do at the time. Good thing I didn’t do that ”work”. Inspiration can be found anywhere. The debates are a great place to look if you're into sales processes.
Sales and marketing intellectuals with audiences of envious volume are talking about gaining new customers by not interrupting them. Interruption is a thing of the past. You must apply your efforts towards “hand raisers”. In these digital times, they emphasize, old methods are dying.
The death of direct marketing may be overstated but there is no doubt that you can market anything to a group that is specifically geared towards that thing, whatever it may be. There is a group online for just about anything. Narrowcast marketing is a thing of the present and most likely the future.
Despite the elegance and organization of the internet and it’s splintering of marketing efforts, one idiom of brutal and crude consequence still holds true; necessity is the mother of invention. I’m willing to go one step further and extend the element of crudeness and say that we are still driven by our base desires at the highest levels of accomplishment and that will never change.
Facebook was started to impress a girl. The deepest recesses of the human brain wired for reproduction have inspired a technical revolution. The fastest growing sport worldwide is mixed martial arts. The human desire and ability for combat is based in the those same recesses of our brains. The number of gun owners in America is growing at a rate higher than ever before. Our deep seated desires for security manifest themselves.
Technology, entertainment, security and even our capacity for empathy are driven by our most base and reptilian parts of our brains. That should not be forgotten in any sales effort. In fact it should be emphasized.
Now, I’m not talking about the Jerky Boys skit where the aspiring car salesman describes his techniques as "putting their freakin’ face on the hood of the car and telling them they're going to buy it…” I paraphrase. But a gentle consideration for the natural drivers of human action must play a part in everything we do simply because we are there, and we are we. We are human.
I’m not a big fan of fear selling like when an alarm company tells you that an office down the street has been broken into recently. I also do not like crude sales people. So there is a fine line, I suppose. Where that line is is subjective. Get it right and you're good; get it wrong and your offensive, or worse, you've lost an opportunity.
Quality lead generation depends upon motivation as well as inspiration. There is a difference. Motivation is a reason for behavior and inspiration is a catalyst for creativity. Motivation is often used in competitive situations and competition itself can be an excellent motivator. Inspiration is often more aligned with the arts than business but successful businesses people have active imaginations whether they be engineers or graphic artists.
Lead gen is part science and part art. Hence the need for motivation and inspiration if one is to produce leads of value. RDIbizdev defines a lead as a sales meeting with the correct contact that needs what you sell, knows they need it, has a reasonable time frame to satisfy the need and money to apply to the solution. These are objective facts. A real lead is not ordered as if it were data. A real lead is not a list or a general interest. It has to be developed between human beings communicating, at least for the b2b complexity level that RDIbizdev clients work at. This is the subjective part.
Statistics can provide motivation. How many leads have been produced relative to time? How many conversations are needed to define a decision maker? How many conversations are had before a lead is generated? These statistics can be known. Competition can be had in reference to these statistics. A healthy human nature to win is in itself a motivating factor that can be inspired by statistics.
The type of b2b leads that RDIbizdev generates are dependant upon conversation. This is the artistic factor. Their clients must talk to their prospects multiple times, for weeks, or months, sometimes a year or more before a sale is closed. A good conversation has a connection to inspiration and not just statistics. Knowing how to gauge another's personality, naturally, so that they feel comfortable revealing and receiving is not teachable to the extent that it can be applied efficiently.
Inspiration is a more complex concept because it is individualized. Each contributor will have their own source of inspiration. It may be music, noise, motion, stillness, combinations of otherwise unrelated intangibles. And every human being has their own brand of inspiration.
This is why a room full of highly successful lead generators may seem like a collection of energetic eccentrics. They are motivated, thus the focus and energy yet they are truly inspired and thus the diversity of personalities. When Intelligence and discipline are added to this combination the necessary characteristics of a great lead generator exists.
To find the combination of inspiration, motivation, discipline and intelligence in one human being is difficult. These are contradictions that must be alive in one sane being. These are motivating and inspiring people to be around and these are the types of individuals at RDIbizdev.