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MBA releases Q2 2008 Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Quarterly Data Book

Sep 29, 2008

The intuitive salesman seriesJerome Maynesales, marketing, Mayne Mortgage, Neighborhood Redevelopment Corporation, sales pitch, sales package I have not been hired or employed by a company in more than 13 years. This is not to say that I haven't worked. I've worked my tail off! I've either been self employed, as president of one corporation or another (my own), or worked as a consultanta contractor for hire. There was, of course, that brief, 16-month period of time when I was employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a door knob polisher and a stairwell sweeper for 12.5 cents an hour, but I don't think that really counts. As the president and sales manager of Mayne Mortgage and Neighborhood Redevelopment Corporation, I was responsible for making sure that my sales force brought business in the door and had fun doing it. I gave each new hire a copy of the classic 1992 movie, "Glengarry Glen Ross," by David Mamet. Among other things, this movie depicts a certain type of no-nonsense selling. Some of my sales theories and lessons were inspired by this movie. The rest came to me as a result of thousands of successes and failures. No matter what business you are in, you are in sales. You might be able to make the argument that some government jobs don't fall under this truth. But selling is a part of life. Everybody sells. What is selling? What does it take to make a sale? How do you turn a prospect into a customer? Does it take two round spheres of brass? In the end, it's all about getting them to sign on the dotted line. The real question is how to get to the point where you push the sales agreement across the table, hand your prospect the pen and say, "The time is now." Know thy customer It doesn't matter if you are selling loans, some kind of service or shower curtain rings, it's all the same; it's a thing (try to keep up with my technical terms). In the beginning, you have to know who will buy your thing. Not necessarily the name of the person but rather, their profile. You can waste a lot of time focusing on your thing, but don't ever forget that it is people who will buy your thingnot companies, organizations, buildings or societies. People who have bought things before and know how they like to be sold to. Know who thy customer is, and you can sell them your thing. Wouldnt it be great if we could just start off with the phone book and end up with money? Maybe thats the way it used to be, but not anymore. There are too many unqualified prospects to filter through. There's no point, or need, to throw darts into a crowd. It's dangerous in that: (a) you could put an eye out; and (b) you will waste a lot of time. You need to discover how your customer wants to be sold to. If you sell insurance, socks or carnival rides, you've at least sold a few, and if you did it even partially right, you've made a good impression on at least one of your buyers. In fact, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt; you've probably made a good enough impression with your previous customers that, if you wanted to, you could contact them (call or e-mail) whenever you want to just shoot the breeze. So, do it. However, before you contact them, prepare your best sales pitch, sales package, solicitation letter or e-mail. Don't use it on them. Just tell your previous customer that you want to find out what they think of it. Ask them, if they were being contacted by you for the first time, if this is how they would want to be sold to? While youre at it, ask them why they bought from you in the first place. Here's the beauty of this little exercise: They are the exact profile of your prospective customers! They already know you; they know what you sell. If you treated them right the first time around, they'll give you their honest opinion. I've been doing this for years, and I learn something new every time. Here is the text from an e-mail I recently sent to a previous client who had contracted with me (bought from me) twice before: Betty [not her real name], In my next marketing campaign, I will be contacting event planners like you. I'd like your opinion on the letter/e-mail I plan to send out (attached). When you have a moment, please look this over and give me your thoughts. Is it too long? Does it contain too much information? Do you have any suggestions for rearranging or deleting paragraphs? What do you think would really grab the attention of event planners so they would want to book me? How do you think they would want to be contacted? Should I leave in or take out the testimonial from that past engagement? Your honest, brutal opinion would be very helpful. Thanks. Also, if you have any hints or secrets on how to obtain the contact information for other event planners, let me know. Betty replied the same day with this: Jerome: It looks great. Don't change a thing. I think your topics are of huge interest to the real estate and mortgage industries right now. Below is a list of the event planners in my state. Thanks, Jerome. See you in July. Betty gave me the names and contact information of seven event planners in her state. One of them was her boss. It was also great that she thought my solicitation was good. It reassured me that I do know my industry and my clients (profile) very well. By the way, the testimonial in my sales letter was from her, taken from when she booked me three years earlier! Some might say, "If you know your clients so well, why did you need her advice on the sales letter?" Well, the purpose was two-fold: • It never hurts to make sure you're still on the right track with what you think your prospective customer is all about. Selling and marketing is a living, breathing thing. It doesn't stand still, and it is always moving and changing. If you dont stay on top of it, you loose. • It was another way to get in front of Betty to let her know about some of my new programs and to remind her that she likes me. This sales technique resulted in yet another booking with Betty and more than a half dozen very qualified leads. Just in case it hadn't occurred to you, this sales techniqueknow thy customeris not new. This is market research 101, and companies spend millions of dollars doing it every year. I spent zero dollars doing it, and you can spend zero dollars doing it, too. So, you already know who your next customer is. He looks, acts and buys exactly like your previous customers. Guessing how your prospective customers want to be sold to is a huge waste of your valuable time. Learn from what you've already done so you don't have to re-invent sliced bread. If you've seen David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," you're familiar with the acronym ABC, which means "Always Be Closing." If I were to write a sequel to this movie, I'd include the acronym KTC. It's not as cute, but it would stand for "Know Thy Customer." Jerome Mayne of Fraudcon Inc. is a keynote speaker and author. He may be reached at (612) 919-3007 or e-mail [email protected].
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