Last week I had the distinct pleasure of discovering Jill Rowley, who is known by many people as a #socialselling guru. Until I listened to her on the #FridayHangout (another weekly event I am growing addicted to) I had never heard of her. By the time the 45-minute session was over I came to a new appreciation of smart people in sales.
There were many high points of the discussion, but when she said, “Sales people need to stop selling and start serving” their customers,” I actually stood up from my chair and shouted “YES!” while pumping my fist in the air.
The bulk of the conversation was around the need of sales professionals to be communication hubs for customers, not just a person pushing a product. This philosophy has made her an in-demand thought leader in new media and a very unpopular employee. That’s to be expected especially since the more established a company is, the less likely they know how to communicate in the 21st Century.
I’ve said this several times before but Jill convinced me I need to keep saying it. The customer today, whether it be in B2B or B2C markets, has more opportunity to ignore “the message” you keep trying to hammer into their head. The more you try, the harder it is to get into their skull. You have to earn the right by demonstrating you actually care about them and you do that by saying interesting things about what matters to them. Believe it or not, the press release, product brochure and the email newsletter you send to them do not matter to them. They only matter to you.
From Jill’s blog at a former employer (and I won’t link to it because I don’t want to give them any credit):
What Is a Modern Sales Professional?
▪ She’s an “information concierge” — she provides the right information to the right person at the right time in the right channel.
▪ She’s an “insights professional” — she teaches the buyer something he doesn’t already know.
▪ She has a personal brand — she’s a thought leader, not a product pusher.
▪ She’s a content connoisseur—she reads what her buyers read and shares that content across her social networks.
▪ She’s a challenger—she makes her clients think differently.
▪ She’s a mini marketer.
In the circles I’ve been running in for the past decade, I can’t think of a single, employed sales executive that comes close to that description. That frustrating fact is why I remain in the circles I am in, because that’s where Footwasher Media is needed. But I sure would like having coffee with Jill and just drinking in the fact that there is someone out there that thinks like me.
There is also the fact that people like Jill need people like me. As she said, sharing content is really important, but not a lot of people know what good content is, much less be able to create it. Jill likes to share OPC (other people’s content). I like to help people create engaging content. If Jill and I ever join forces, it will be breathtaking.