My job is selling technology. Actually I'm more of a translator. I sell technology to other businesses and that's where things get weird. There is a bewildering array of tech out there and unfortunately many companies think technology sells itself and the value that the technology delivers should be obvious. Wrong. That's where I come in. I said I was a translator. My job is to translate techno babble into value that customers understand. This blog share my adventures with high tech sales. Selling high tech is fun so come join me on my sales journey!

Thursday 7 February 2013

Romantic Sales #5: Gift of Love

February is the most romantic month of the year. In the lead-up to Valentine's day we are encouraging you to be romantic with your selling by sharing our Romantic Sales tips.  We'll cover the top 10 tips to spice up your sales in time for Valentine's day. Make February 14th the day you start Romancing Your Customers.

Tip # 5: Gift of love
Bette Midler's gift of Love isn't a great love song classic but it has the right message for today's Romantic Sales tip.

When you go on date with a girl you might buy her some flowers, chocolates or something similar.

When you give someone something, the receiver feels an obligation, even if it is a small obligation,  to give something back to you. A gift is a symbol of extending trust.

Sales has developed a selfish reputation.  The buyer subliminally expects to have to surrender their cash to get something and the sales guy is only there for the money.  I've even been on the receiving end of sales guys that wouldn't do anything unless they got an order. That's kind of like adopting the attitude with your girlfriend that you won't do anything she wants unless she lets you have sex. Hardly romantic.

OK you don't need to buy your prospects flowers and chocolates but you can give them gifts. So what kind of gifts could you give them?  Maybe putting a cutting of an important article, relevant to their business,  in the post with a hand written post-it note might be a suitable gift  (not an article self promoting your company though) - this shows you care and are thinking about them.  If you know the personal interests of your prospect maybe an email passing on congratulations when the team they supports has a good win could be a nice message. If you are more familiar with them then sending a joke via email could be a nice gift - make sure the joke however is not one that could cause offence.

These small "gifts" show that you care and build that all important relationship however they need to be given expecting nothing in return.

Running short conferences, webinars are also useful tools.  Don't make these too sales oriented - deliver relevant information that people would like to know.  If it is all about your product then it is not a gift. As a rule of thumb 80% of the content needs to be non specific to you and your business. Lucas Vigilante and Kent Rhodes runs an ActionCoach business coaching service for the Essex, UK area. They run half day free workshops and provide really useful advice about how to improve profitability. Lucas makes a big joke during the event when he switches to sales mode which gets a laugh. I've booked up to go to the same event a second time because I think the conference is great and they are fantastic no obligation gifts. I even drag other people along.  Not only do they give anyway this great gift, they give away yet more gifts as fun competitions during the event such as copies of books. 

If you are mentally tallying up all the free gifts you've given then you are storing up problems.  The gifts should be given freely and not create an implied obligation.  A subliminal obligation is fine since ultimately you want your prospect to fall in love with your company and shower you with orders! But if nothing ever comes of your gifts then do not become disappointed. Returning to Lucas and Kent - there's no heavy pressure to buy, sure they remind me they are out there and would love to do business but it's never with a tally card. 10 out of 10 for romance guys!

If you fancy attending their next event on Feb 15th (the day after Valentine's day when you will be out there selling Romantically), details can be found here:

So get romantic and find ways you can give your prospects gifts. It doesn't need to be expensive meals or corporate hospitality.   If your company has branded merchandise, give it freely to anyone that would like it even if they are not potential customers - it creates goodwill.  I've given simple things like stickers and pens away to people that will never order anything from me. These people however are connected to people that could be potential customers - they might put a good word in for me. I haven't asked them to put a good word in for me - that would be an obligation to "sell me" in return for the bribery of  me giving them gifts.  I don't want to bribe anyone - they need to be put a good word in for me willingly and without forced obligation. 

So start giving your gifts freely and with love.

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