The phone rings in the office one day. Out of the blue an order that is 25% of your annual budget is on the other end.
But wait! How can that be? You’ve been working diligently on another project, which after days, weeks and months of activity has barely taken off. Yet, here in one fell swoop you hit your numbers for the quarter!
Once again, you ask out loud this time: “How can that be?”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen it. Although it is one of those trite sayings, straight out of the stale sales training method books – “activity breeds success.”
There’s really no rhyme nor reason to it, but when you pay attention to any given item, especially in sales, as long as you have a solid strategy including timely accurate follow-up, you will see results.
But get ready for this truth: most often times the success you achieve will not be in the intended area, or on the specific project. Sure, it can be in the same category, but just at the point where you feel the situation is at it’s bleakest, fortune or luck or the sales gods intervene and bless you with success.
I’ve written before that sales is a specific talent needed for success in the world of marketing. While traditional sales have a sleaze factor that none of us want to identify with, as with most things in the new connection economy, sales methodologies are changing for the better, and if you grasp the mindset of truly building relationships and creating meaningful outcomes, positive results will follow.
However, that doesn’t mean that certain elements of Zig Ziglar’s world still aren’t in effect. They are, just different.
Switching to the other side of the table, sales activity should no longer be adversarial, but rather about working together toward a common goal. This has always seemed to be to me the right way to approach a relationship; build genuine rapport and trust with the customer/prospect/donor, identify what their needs are and figure out the best way they align with your goals and devise a mutually beneficial outcome.
Am I naïve enough to believe that all sales interactions go this well? Absolutely not. There are still those in the world that would like to exact a pound of flesh from their adversaries in a sales steel cage match. And for those, you must be prepared to engage or walk away from the business.
Most of this discussion has to do with the one-on-one sales relationship. Whether you have some sales responsibility in assisting fundraising and development or if you have a role in creating sponsorship and strategic partnerships or new business development, you should always have a game plan to follow. That is when the “accidental windfall” is most likely to take place.
In our position as marketists, we are tasked with enlightening people about our organization, what we offer, what we stand for, and how best those can engage and take advantage of our unique assets. The majority of our work is done on the macro, although with technology, we can begin to focus more and more on the micro and the tribes that form around the events, businesses and organizations that appeal to them.
Continue to do your work, and stay the course. If you’ve done the research up-front, and have a product or service that you know your followers and supporters want, you’re just that one phone call away from a breakthrough which not only will reaffirm your commitment to the work you are doing, but will provide measurable business results to those who count on you to build and grow the organization.