I was three-quarters of the way through my core exercises yesterday morning when the phone rang. Reluctantly as you can imagine, I lifted my carcass from the floor and crankily gathered my phone. “Hello?” I said. Then the voice…. It was Martin Price from somethingsomethingsomething.org who was letting me know that as a CRS, I was entitled to 100 late mortgage payer leads. The problem was it wasn’t Martin Price, it was a recording of Martin Price. I was appalled.
Let me make one thing clear right off the bat, I don’t know Martin Price. I’ve never met him and I have never been to his website. I’ve never placed my phone number or email address on a list of his and cannot conjure up a scenario where I might. All that, however, is beside the point.
The point is that Martin Price interrupted me. Interruption: the consumers least favorite marketing ploy. Even the word, interruption, strongly implies that it is something that happened against my permission. And no matter the intention, in the end, Martin succeeded in doing nothing more than pissing me off. So why do it?
Interruption marketing still exists because at some level, it works. If you fire enough bullets into the air, one of them is likely to hit something. Some statistics show that one in every hundred cold calls gathers a lead. Salespeople are even taught that when someone says NO, you are one step closer to a YES. If you toughen up and don’t take NO personally, you can call for hours. And if you have a recording that can do it for you, a la Martin Price, you can prospect for hours on end. In many ways, it’s easy. A salesperson can avoid the hard work of sales like connecting with people and showing value.
The alternative? Spending the time and effort to get acquainted with me could help. Understanding that sales is a relationship thing, there are great rewards in forging a good relationship. I, like most people, would prefer to work with someone I know, like and trust. So the task at hand is to cultivate relationships to create a healthy, prosperous, successful business. The only way to reap the rewards is to sow the relationship.
In today’s world, we have a plethora of tools at our disposal. In person meetings and the phone still work, direct mail has some merit and the world of technology has blessed us with text, the web and social media to form a perfect storm of relationship building. My suggestion: use them all.
I prefer to send things to my people (sphere of influence) via snail and/or email, chat with them on the phone 2-4 times a year and make a huge effort to see them in person at some point annually. I also choose to touch them with things relevant to their world and mine. In the world of social media, the more of your real friends that are your Facebook friends, the better. Communicate with them!!! Look for opportunities to understand what’s happening in their lives and set yourself up to be in a position to do the goal of all sales marketing: to be their salesperson BEFORE they need one. Facebook makes it easy because most people tell all on their wall.
As a consumer and a salesperson, I want to commit to the long term interests of my clients/customers. I want to be a part of their lives and have my business be of service to them whenever needed. As a relationship builder, I am committed to the relationship.
I don’t want to hear from Martin Price again. Unfortunately, I probably will, or at least I will hear from someone like him; an interrupter. Simply put, every once in a while, even a blind dog gets a bone. That’s the lure that keeps Martin and his ilk calling.
More important than ever hearing from Martin again, I don’t ever want to BE Martin. The difference between the interruption marketer and the relationships builder is one of involvement vs. commitment. And as Martina Navratilova said, “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”