A rather ordinary experience—riding an elevator—turned into an enlightening moment for Will Scott, Lextech President. Last week when he was taking the elevator up in our new office building after lunch, there was a cheerful young man on his way to make a sandwich delivery. At a moment when people make chitchat with coworkers or choose something on the wall at which to stare, this young man, Daryll, broke the silence in a friendly way:
“Have you tried our new multigrain flatbread?”
Will was impressed and engaged Daryll for the short elevator ride. Talk about an elevator pitch! He was so struck that he took a photo and got his name. Still thinking about Daryll’s disarming friendliness and unorthodox sales approach, Will shared this encounter with us at our weekly Lextech Town Hall. He spoke about how Daryll’s initiative impressed him, but it reminded him of this lesson: in your company, every employee is a salesperson. Will also cited a couple of our Lextech colleagues outside of the Business Development Team who’ve referred customers to Lextech and worked to make new client connections.
This got me thinking, too, so here are five ways every employee is a sales person, and I included some great article links at the bottom for your team.
5 ways every employee is on your business development team
1. Presence & Attitude – You represent your brand by your very demeanor. You, by your level of eye contact, a simple smile or greeting, can improve someone’s day or set the tone for a conversation, whether that conversation is about an app product feature, inventory, building maintenance, or customer service. Make it a point to greet people and use their name when possible.
2. Listening – You’re present. Check. But are you listening? Listening truly is a skill, and not just listening to the words being used, but what is being communicated. Put down your phone, avoid laptop temptations (read: social media, news, or email), and hear what your coworkers, friends, and colleagues are saying. Say you’re at a bar talking with a friend who is an auto parts sales team manager, and she’s complaining about the turn around time for getting quotes from her sales support to her team in the field. You work in app development. You could say, “Yeah, that stinks.” or you could realize that your friend isn’t just complaining, but expressing that she needs a problem solved (and you might have a lead for the solution). Enter #3, discovery.
3. Discovery – Any sales person knows that customer discovery, or qualification, is essential in converting a prospect to a lead to a qualified lead. There are endless pages of print and internet sites devoted to sales skills and qualifying questions, but it comes down to this, “Have you heard about our new multigrain flatbread?” or this: “Man, that is a long time to get a quote. How quickly do you want them or need them? How does 15 minutes sound?” Ask a simple question, or ask them to talk about their work issues. Issues are opportunities for referrals to your sales team. This has been the case at Lextech a number of times. Someone had a problem and either knew someone’s friend was a developer or when a client’s work issue came up, a Lextech employee asked a few questions and referred them to our Business Development Team. Bam! They’re a salesperson.
4. Networking – Networking isn’t all slick business cards and glad-handing. It’s important to stay current in your field and to go to networking events like those on Meetup.com. It’s also as simple as riding an elevator and starting a conversation. Become friends with your building’s security guard or administrative assistant. (They are, in fact, often the gatekeepers who have loads of contacts. You never know who your people know.)
5. Your personal brand – Marketing people love this, but personal branding isn’t just for marketing nerds. All this means is who the world sees when you present your professional self. In many ways, this is the first way that you’re a sales person for your business. It’s how you speak, interact on social media, and what your public profiles look like. A few simple action items to improve your personal brand include: make a mission statement, Google yourself, and update your social media profiles to reflect your mission and business role.
Thank you, once again, Daryll, for being an inspiration to us! (You deserve a raise.) For more great articles on ways to sell without being on the sales team or how to improve your personal brand, check out some of these: