We all know what “household names” are: classic icons who made a profound, indelible impact on the world and society as we know it. A household name can be a timeless actress (Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe or Ava Gardner), an unforgettable British royal (Princess Diana), a television show (True Blood or The Sopranos) or a product (Tide, Crest, Cetaphil, you get the picture).
Or it can be your business.
When we own or work for small businesses, our core goal is the same: we want to enjoy long-term, scalable success by positioning ourselves in front of the public’s ever-wandering eye. Isn’t that what marketing is? Tailoring platforms and channels, from print media to social media, to create a sustainable, engaging plan for capturing consumer loyalty and earning ourselves a place in their daily vernacular.
The question – and the challenge – is how do you earn your place on the venerated shelf of household names?
By being omnipresent. And sales is only one piece of that ubiquitous pie.
When we sell, most of the time, we are thinking of the product or service we’re selling. We’re considering our bottom line, and our numbers are always at the forefront of our mind. What many sales professionals – overzealous or seasoned – don’t focus on is selling the BRAND; the holistic experience that accompanies the sale long after money is exchanged is what the consumer really buys.
Think of it this way. One sales professional schedules a certain amount of face-to-face meetings and referral follow-ups each week, according to their weekly goals. Additionally, they attend one or two networking events, primarily to source new prospects. And good news: the sales professional is received with piqued interest! The product he or she is selling is valuable, sustainable and useful. A few of those prospects they encounter at the evening networking event will undoubtedly sign up by the end of the week. Success, by its mere definition, has been achieved.
Or has it? How many of those prospects are invested in the BRAND? They see a product they could use, or at the very least, would like to try. They wrote the check or swiped the plastic, and the sale is complete. One more closed deal. Isn’t that what sales is all about?
Not really. Now focus on this scenario: another sales professional schedules the same amount of coffee meetings as his/her predecessor we just discussed. They are also in attendance at the same one or two evening networking events. Is this just an exercise in insanity? They’re doing the same thing expecting results!
Just wait. On top of their 50-hour-a-week job commitment, professional #2 gives of his/her time, choosing to volunteer with local community charities and organizations on the weekends. Additionally, he/she attends networking groups that haven’t proven to be fruitful from a sales aspect. It’s possible these groups haven’t yielded ONE closed deal! I know what you’re thinking – FORGET it! Financial gain is the only focus and anything else is a deliberate waste of time!
I have news for you. It’s not.
Sales professional #2 is onto this secret. By being present at many diverse events, meeting with folks that will never yield closed sales and making a difference in his or her community, they are closing deals. They are closing a deal with the population by communicating the message that they aren’t too good or too busy to slow down and just talk. Just be there.
Let’s look at it this way: Princess Diana didn’t become iconic because she married Prince Charles in front of the world in 1981. Princess Diana became timeless because she walked in minefields with disenfranchised populations.She was a visible advocate of Mother Teresa’s work among the untouchables in India. She held sick children in her arms, cradling them as though they were her own. And I wager to speculate they were like her own. She was selfless with her time and energy, both during her time in the palace, and long after she divorced herself from the prince and the monarchy. Her devotion to those less fortunate to her and her career philanthropy earned her the devotion of the world. The palace did not endorse her benevolence but she didn’t need their approval to do good unto others.
We earn the appreciation, loyalty and devotion of our communities when we give of our time. It’s not about how many sales we convert in a day. Yes, we have goals. Yes, we have numbers, and yes, we absolutely desire success. But when you lose sight of the people with whom you engage on a daily basis in favor of only entertaining those guaranteed to buy, you fail to grasp the core purpose of sales: to deliver value to someone in need of a solution.
Maybe your smiling face or five minute conversation with someone delivers the solution, the smile, they so desperately needed to turn their day around.
Maybe you brought a little sunshine to a lonely person’s life. Maybe you cheered up a business owner who is nervous about his or her future.
That’s how you become timeless. That’s how you make an impact.