Chancelor Bennett, better known by his stage name, “Chance the Rapper”, is just 23 years old out of Chicago, Illinois, and is single-handedly changing the the music industry.
Now before I dive into why I’m bringing up a hip-hop artist in comparison to salespeople, let me preface by saying that I understand. I understand that salespeople are in one of the most high pressure professions in Corporate America, and patience is not always an option. I get that even though your client or prospect’s building is on fire that day, your sales leader will be leaning over your shoulder telling you to make x amount of calls into that account. I have been in your shoes. You are bound by daily, monthly, and annual metrics that are never conducive to patience.
But you need to pay attention.
Chance the Rapper has become one of the most sought after hip-hop artists in the game, with just about every music label salivating at his door trying to get his signature on a contract. Chance is single-handedly changing the music industry – and it has direct impact on your life as a salesperson.
Here’s what’s going on;
Chance has been releasing original music since 2011.
By December 2016, Chance was nominated for 7 Grammys.
Hold on, I think you missed that. SEVEN Grammys.
You know, these guys?
The biggest night in music in America?
Oh wait, but I didn’t mention….
Since 2011, Chance has given away every single piece of music FOR FREE.
He charges zero, zilch, nada, nothing! for his music.
So again – you’re asking, what does this have to do with me as a salesperson?
Here’s what I’m telling you;
Stop slinging mixtapes out the back of your trunk.
So again, I get it – This is by far, hands down, the hardest thing to do in sales. But here’s what I want you to do:
Stop asking for an appointment, a demo, or a sale on the first contact with a prospect.
As a salesperson, you are required to be an expert on what you sell. Why don’t you act like it?
Become an expert, and start providing value to your prospects. Today. For free.
You’re still scratching your head. And that’s okay. I know you’re busy and time is money, so I’m not sitting here telling you that you need to spend hours blogging, vlogging, or starting a podcast. Not at all. Here’s the thing – Your company has invested boatloads of money into your marketing department for a reason. Too many salespeople view marketing as “lead generators” or “advertising minions”, but;
Marketing should, very quickly, become your best friend.
Collateral. Digital Content. Short videos. Your company’s blog. Use it all.
Instead of sending InMail on LinkedIn and asking for the appointment on the first contact,
Start adding value to your prospect’s lives.
The same way that Chance the Rapper has produced high quality, VALUABLE records through the years, you need to provide high quality, VALUABLE content (for free) to your clients and prospects.
Notice, I said valuable twice. I also wrote VALUABLE in caps for reason. Don’t sling BS to your prospects. Take some time. Research. And send something of value.
Here’s what I’m asking you to do;
The next time you reach out to a new prospect, DO NOT ask for the appointment. Do some research on the company first. Figure out what’s going on in their industry, or better yet, at their company – some sort of “trigger event”. Gather that info, and before reaching out, contact your marketing department (or wherever you get your collateral), and ask what they think would apply best to their industry or challenge. Instead of asking for the appointment on the first contact, let them know that you have been following the changes in their market, and thought this information could help reduce the stress of what they could be experiencing. Easy enough? From there, let them know that you will continue to post valuable content over the next few months, and hope to get the opportunity to work together in the near future.
See the difference?
You’re no longer selling mixtapes out the back of your trunk.
You’re no longer walking up to somebody outside of Food Lion, and asking them to buy your mixtape. Nearly 10 times out of 10, you’re going to get a no.
- Because you just walked up to me.
- I don’t know you.
- I really don’t have time to listen to you talk about yourself.
- Your music probably sucks.
- I’m sure you sound like everybody else.
- I don’t think it’s VALUABLE enough to spend $10 on right now.
Does this sound similar to what your buyers are thinking?
You’re now re-framing the conversation.
You’re CONSISTENTLY providing value to your consumer. They now view you as an expert. Someone they can trust. The same way Chance the Rapper has been doing for years. You’re providing high value content to a consumer base that will eventually come to you. As Chance the Rapper never sold a single record, he was just nominated for 7 Grammys due to his 57 million streams of his new album in the first week. Because of the work he put in prior.
You have to do the dirty work.
Just go the extra step. It will pay dividends in the long run. I promise you.
In the end, you are an expert in your industry, and represent a product or service that can improve someone’s life. Start acting like it.
Please stop being the guy/girl selling mixtapes out the back of your trunk.