Be SMART to Be Memorable

By Heather Baldwin

Someone once said the toughest part about getting to the top of the ladder is getting through the crowd at the bottom. That statement sums up one of the biggest challenges salespeople face today – standing out from the other salespeople selling similar products. So how do you become memorable? You start selling smart, says Lynn Zimmerman, president of Sales Mindshare, a sales training organization that provides customized training and proprietary workshops (www.salesmindshare.com). Together with personal branding strategist Catherine Kaputa (www.selfbrand.com), Zimmerman developed the SalesSMART process reps can use to become memorable to their prospects. Here are the five components.

S – Sweet spot. Tennis players call the point on a tennis racket that has the most affect on a ball the sweet spot. Likewise, the aspect of your message that will have the most affect on your customer is your sweet spot for that sale – and that’s where you need to spend the most time. While this is common sense, too often sales reps forge ahead with their preplanned calls without developing the flexibility to concentrate on one area and leave out another. Yet spending time promoting the sweet spot of your message is what will make you memorable, says Zimmerman.

M – Mindshare. Mindshare is just what it sounds like – share of mind. In today’s overloaded society there’s only so much information our brains can store; the rest we dump. Have you been dumped? Or do prospects think of you when they need your product? “People do business with those they think they know better; people who are top of mind,” says Kaputa. “So you want to do things that will build mindshare, whether it’s making a really unique presentation, sending out things your competitors aren’t or articulating your solutions in a different way. Mindshare is about being different, being relevant. It’s all about being remembered.”

A – Answers and advice. This component is all about asking smart questions to get smart answers that move the buying process forward. Smart questions start with phrases such as: What has your experience been with…. How have you used…. How do you currently handle…. Zimmerman says one of the best questions she has heard came after she had waffled for weeks on the design aspects of her business note cards. Finally the designer said: Lynn, what is the reaction you want people to have when they open this envelope and look at this card and your note? Zimmerman says the question really got her thinking – and prompted a decision within days.

R – Reaction. Don’t spend time thinking about what you’re going to say to a prospect, says Zimmerman. Instead, think about the reaction you want from that prospect and then what you need to do or say to get that reaction. Take Zimmerman’s business. With a sales cycle that typically is six months to a year, her goal with most communications is to hear back from prospects so she knows her name is familiar. When they know her name, they are more apt to agree to a second meeting and she is top of mind when a buying decision approaches. To reach that goal, Zimmerman looks for articles of interest to her prospects, which she copies and encloses in an engraved note card. Even a quickly emailed thank you from a prospect means she accomplished her goal.

T – Tactics. Tactics are about what salespeople do on a day-to-day basis, specifically in the area of verbal cues and reminders, called triggers, and footprints, which are more tangible reminders. “We can’t be physically in front of our customers often enough so we have to be in front of them in other ways,” says Zimmerman. Think about those other ways you have of getting in front of your prospects. When you leave an outgoing message on your voicemail system do you listen to it so you know what your prospects will hear when they call you? Do you replay the messages you leave for others when their phone systems give you that option? What physical reminders, or footprints, do you provide your prospects? Is your contact information on all your emails so people can find it easily? “You want to make it easy to buy from you,” says Zimmerman.

In conclusion, Zimmerman points out that the path to being memorable in the eyes of your prospects isn’t complicated or time consuming. “It’s about letting people know you’re thinking of them,” she says. “Don’t you like to be with people who think about you and like you and are thinking about your success? So do your prospects.”