People think I’m weird….they’re absolutely right.
I’m not weird because there is some chemical imbalance or some traumatic life event…I’m weird, because I work at it.
I used to wear one of those awful tshirts with the cliche saying across the chest…it was a quote by Jonathan Davis*. The quote: “You laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at you because you’re all the same.”
In many ways, I still embrace this idea today. At networking events, out in the community, I tend to stand out…
From the long hair, to the obscene amount of jewelry, to my new fascination with Happy Socks, the loose fit tie, the huge belt buckle, and on and on…as one person put it “Jesus….look at you….your like a whole mess of fashion statements from the past 40 years” (I think it was meant as a compliment).
For those of you who may not know what I do, I work for at a marketing firm as a Marketing Strategist…for those of you who don’t know what that means: I sit down with people, figure out what they aren’t doing well with their marketing, propose things that our agency can work with them on (web design, social media, PR, media buying, et cetera), and then I get to work with the designers to create the campaigns…it is the greatest job ever….but part of what I do is the “Account Executive” role.
Account Executive (or AE…for all you savy cats) is the fancy new title that the business world gave to salesman. Mostly because the word salesman makes people’s skin crawl…it’s like one step above pedophile….it’s the reason why you go to the car dealer after their closed.
The sound of someone saying “Hi, can I help you” makes me want to punch them in the face and run….because you now have to say:
“NOOOO! I’m just looking” and pray to whatever God you turn to, that they will retreat with a simple passing comment of:
“Okay, well I’ll be over here if you need help”….but the average car dealer doesn’t do that (people at mall department stores will….but not a car salesman….these bastards live and die off of their commissions)….they’ve been to the sales training classes….they know how to “handle” you….so they press harder…
“Looking for a [insert various class of car here]…man you would look great in that….I bet all of the [insert opposite sex] would be crawling all over you if you were driving that”.
I’ve been to the sales training classes and learned to do the opposite of what they taught me. Every CEO reading this** has heard “What keeps you up at night?”…it’s a simple trick that sales henchmen use to find a “pain” that the CEO is having and then find a clever tie into their product or service and go on to explain how this will help solve their all their problems….
AAAAARGH! We have been through this movie before…
If you go about doing things the way that they have always been done…the shit you learned in a sales class…that means that this “full proof” method has been taught to thousands of other salesmen…all of whom are calling the same people your calling….all of them using the same “techniques” that you use….you are a commodity.
If you come in wearing a suit and tie…ugh…let me put it this way….if it smells like a fart, and it tastes like fart…it’s probably a fart.
The second you say “can I help you” or approach someone wearing a suit and tie….INSTANTLY…defense shields go up….brain switches to defender of the galaxy mode.
I don’t look like a saleman, I don’t act like a salesman, I would rather get a beer with you than coffee, I swear in meetings….I know I’m not supposed to…but I do….because I’M NOT PUTTING ON A ROLE….I’M NOT ACTING….I’m not a salesman from 9 to 5….I’m just me…and if I can help you make more money….you’ll probably like me….you’ll probably refer me to your other friends who own businesses (because those people tend to hang out together).
My method involves hours of planning before I sit down and try to “sell” someone something….at that point it’s not really a sale at all. I have numbers in front of me….
“Here is how many people are searching for your product online every month…if you translated X% of that into sales, would your website be outperforming your best salesman?”
I can get a pretty clear picture in a couple of hours of the ROI of someone working with me. I don’t need to know what keeps them up at night….I need to know if I can help grow their business.
*At the time, I was unaware that this quote was by him…it was not because I was a fan of his band, Korn
** Yes, I am so arrogant that I actually believe CEOs read my blog