Visited with my friend Bob at his auto body shop here in Northridge, CA. (He’d just made my car look pretty again). He told me a tale of two sales calls that he’d experienced first hand. His story amplifies the reality that “nobody likes to be sold to”, especially if they get hit by the “sales sledge hammer.”
Bob got a call from an insurance agent that he’d met at a Chamber event. The man asked if he could bring in his car for an estimate. Bob remembered meeting the man, and said, “Sure, bring it in to the shop.”
The man arrived, arms filled with flip charts and diagrams, and went immediately into an unsolicited (and unwanted) insurance sales presentation. Bob said politely that he was busy and needed to get back to the tasks at hand. The man continued his pitch until Bob said, “We’re done. We’ll have to talk another time.” The man never even mentioned his car, or the estimate.
Bob told me that the man returned a few more times and went right back into his pitch. Bob continued his story with an even sadder comment, “If I saw this guy coming down the street, I’d hurry to the other side.”
The second example was strikingly and refreshingly different.
A representative of an auto paint supplier that Bob had never met came into the shop unannounced. The man said, “Hi. I just wanted to introduce myself and leave a card. I have 17 years experience in the world of body shop paint supplies. If you ever have any questions… let me know.”
Bob did have a question concerning a relatively new painting system he recently had installed. The man responded with an answer that was so helpful that Bob tried to buy the proposed solution right then and there. The man declined the opportunity to sell because the device in question was not designed for Bob’s current system. Bob was so impressed with the way the man handled the call that he’s actually considering making a transition to the system offered by his new-found resource.
What does this have to do with social media? Everything!
I see posts all the time that have one message: Buy From Me! Buy From Me!” This doesn’t work offline and the tactic is even less effective online.
Here’s the tip:
Before you give in to the initial urge to sell, take a deep breath and focus instead on establishing an authentic relationship. This process can happen in a moment, as with Bob’s experience, or it can take a while. Either way… it’s better than hitting a new contact over the head with the sales sledge hammer. As a tool, the sales sledge hammer will hurt your selling effectiveness rather than help. Guaranteed!