This was a question asked at CAMP’s recent professional development session entitled ‘The Sales of Marketing’, where John Lilly, Senior Sales Manager at Yellowpages discussed how he led his team to become the leading sales team in North America, and how marketers can implement sales techniques to increase their overall return on marketing investment.
His answer? While every sales and marketing professional deals with rejection (and will eventually develop a very thick skin), the art to handle rejection is more about vetting a potential client before you make the call. Are they the right client? Will they benefit from the service? It about believing in what you are promoting and knowing that it will fundamentally help the client.
In other words, good-old-fashioned targeting.
Some of the first words we learn in marketing studies are Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning. Segmenting is more about understanding and dividing markets into manageable groups (simple things, like dividing according to geography, such as Canadians, or according to demographics, such as Baby Boomers). Targeting is the simple act of choosing whom to approach, and positioning is all about how you craft a message and/or approach to respond to these groups.
These beliefs are so ingrained in the marketer, we often forget that this is a valuable tool in our business development and sales techniques. We must continually determine who our targets are, and how we can effectively promote and partner with them. Hence, we’re not throwing something at the wall and seeing what sticks (at least I hope we’re not), but we’re utilizing the age old marketing techniques into our sales strategies so that the rejection we receive is less an outright rebuff and perhaps the beginning of a relationship.
How do we target properly? By understanding the value proposition of the product or service. Very few business owners will not adequately know this information. Once we’ve answered these simple questions – Who are our ideal clients? What matters to them?, then our promotion becomes easier. Our messages are shaped around this group, and our sales teams (and ourselves) are better equipped with the language and tools to properly speak to these groups.
With proper targeting, the risk of rejection is dulled (although it doesn’t disappear entirely…otherwise, what’s the fun in that?)
Raised in a small town in Newfoundland, Nadine headed west after graduating and fell in love with the bustle of Toronto. Her true passion is marketing and she’s spent the last 15 years in marketing roles, and is the co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP). When she’s not connecting with other marketers through CAMP, Nadine is at the soccer field, gym, or swimming pool cheering on her two favourite munchkins, trying not to become that mom everyone fears.