Reading Andy Jex’s article in Campaign this week really struck a chord with me.
The gist of it was that you shouldn’t ignore “the quiet ones” in your agency, given that people in the marketing and advertising industry are often expected to be (or maybe stereotyped) as extroverts.
When it comes to sales, the image people have of what a salesperson should be may be magnified even further in this respect.
Surely they need the gift of the gab? Surely they must be outgoing and give off an air of confidence? In fact, alpha males only need apply, no?
In actual fact, having worked at Alchemis for almost 15 years, I can tell you that this is not the case.
We definitely have our fair share of outgoing extroverts, no doubt about that. However, this is balanced with a mix of quieter, more reflective types. One such example jumps to mind… let’s preserve his anonymity (and one of our longest serving prized assets) by calling him “The Silver Fox.”
I would put money on most people not being able to identify him as “a salesman” in a room full of people. But as all the best sales people know, you have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Carefully listening to the issues facing the prospect you’re selling to and then intelligently demonstrating how your offer will help overcome these issues, rather than steaming in with a spiel reeling off all the benefits that your agency can bring (without hearing what a prospect actually needs) is a far better way to generate new business when pitching to a high level of decision maker. It is very rarely a “one size fits all” as far as selling B2B marketing services is concerned.
On top of this, there is the “personality” of the agency to take into consideration. An agency specialising in pharmaceutical or healthcare communications, for example, may need a very different kind of approach to prospects than a social media agency specialising in youth brands.
Having such a broad range of clients at Alchemis requires having an equally broad range of staff. There will obviously be some common traits (intelligent objection handling, the ability to communicate clearly and concisely on the phone and the ability to quickly grasp each different client offer to name but a few) but after that it really is a case of different strokes for different folks.
Vive la différence!