I received this email from a sales rep I know. The names have been redacted to protect the guilty.
I need help with something…my boss is so anti- “this myface” (that’s what she calls it) that it’s hard to explain the benefits when her wall is up. If someone were to say to you… “why use FanTools when we can simply announce deals using wall posts?”… what would you say to that? thank you!
There are many things I would say to that, including beware when your boss does not believe in the value of the product or service you’re selling. (More to the rep’s point, there are several good reasons why using FanTools to deliver social promotions is far superior to simple Facebook Wall posts. Look for that post soon.)
For today, let’s examine the email in another light. It got me thinking about qualifying, especially in the context of selling social media marketing services and technology. Anyone who’s been successful in sales appreciates the art of qualifying. The best reps I know are ruthless qualifiers, and they put great faith in a set of warning signs refined over many sales calls.
I started to jot down the red flags I’ve seen (or collided with as the case may be) when talking to businesses about the value of social media and social promotions, and in particular the ROI available from using a platform like FanTools. Then I found a better list created by the folks at Brainzooming.
Granted, their list of 13 Signs is written from a slightly different point of view…a company self-assessing its own readiness to adopt social media. But the red flags will be on display in a sales setting, too.
My list overlaps theirs in the following areas. Quoting from their list…
- A general fear of customers and the power they potentially hold over the brand
- Slow and unpredictable approval times for traditional communications materials
- A distrust of employees and the judgment they use
- Inaccessible (or uninterested, uncooperative, etc.) content owners (i.e., subject matter experts)
I would add that an unwillingness to accept that today’s younger consumers have made different decisions about media consumption and how they choose to interact with brands — and worse yet, the belief that those decisions are somehow wrong or reflect temporary insanity — is a major red flag.
Sales execs everywhere, flee the flag. See if your next appointment can be available a little earlier than planned! There are many businesses embracing new ways to drive growth, build brand and connect with their next generation of customers. They’re eager to talk to you.