I have written several times before about the importance of human interaction in the sales and business development process, but that has been linked to the physical aspect of picking up the telephone and having an intelligent conversation rather than sending out emails or tweeting and hoping the right people see it and act. However, of equal importance when you are having that conversation is to be human. Sounds obvious, but sales is about blending the rational and emotional. The people we speak to are exactly that………. people. They have lives outside of their working environment and personalities to match. Their natural persona may not match their work persona, but any sales call needs to appeal to a balance of both. To not do this is to not care.
As such, how you speak to them about an agency offer or proposition and how you ascertain their current situation is an art, and it is the art of effective and compelling story-telling. PR and branding agencies talk about this all the time, but it is equally important in sales. Second to this is tone of voice. I think we can all hold our hands up at times to sounding slightly anal and corporate in correspondence to prospects and clients alike. Sometimes that may be a necessity, but in the main, it isn’t. We have recently picked up a client who specialise in tone of voice and it is fascinating to delve into the psychology behind language. They have helped major businesses become more human through their tone of voice. This has resulted in far more positive feedback from customers and staff.
From an internal communications perspective, both tone and treating people properly are crucial. This hit home from an article in The Standard on ustwo, a digital product studio based in Shoreditch.
Their success has been built on treating staff like family. They call themselves a “fampany” (family and company!), which is not necessarily my cup of tea, but the ethos they have about treating the staff as humans is admirable. Nobody wants to work for a company or client that is an arse and there are some out there. Again, they are selling and using their human approach to attract and retain customers and the best staff.
This approach must be part of any sales persons make up in order to create success. People don’t want to be interrupted by a call in the middle of their working day, but the art is to approach it correctly, empathise and tell a story in a compelling, interesting and natural way. If you can get them to enjoy the conversation, they may even agree to find out more face to face.