The word inclusion can and should apply to every endeavor we undertake. From a sales perspective, inclusion can put the representative who tries it at the top of the sales scoreboard.
When we reach out to prospects, enter a corporate office, or attend a networking event, the more critical factor is to treat everyone respectfully for the magic to begin happening. Most rarely receive respect, so unexpectedly, receiving it becomes highly valuable and greatly appreciated to transform into the magic key for advancing your effort.
As a sales representative, I desired to sell to Fortune 100 and 500 companies. But like the lack of enthusiasm in hiring a woman to be a salesperson, the same type of attitude prevailed upon making calls. It was impossible to get to the decision-makers, but I always knew not to take anything as impossible. Instead, I always like the challenge of finding a way around an issue to have my approach work!
Calls and appointments typically begin with speaking to a receptionist. Observing many who rudely spoke down to the people behind the desk was astonishing. After all, it was those very people the representatives of varying companies were asking for help. As their tone of voice became biting, I would hear from afar, ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.’ Sadly, most people have yet to learn the lesson. The people at the companies where I was employed wrote off the possibility of ever selling to them and uniformly announced that I was wasting valuable time. Management agreed. But, was I? is the real question.
Most of us have experienced being passed over for another due to the other appearing to be more worthy of the person’s time. A good habit is to realize what offends us and promise ourselves never to do the same to another.
One awful experience was that of someone at a Fortune 500 company standing me up three times instead of keeping the appointment we set. Frustrated but never giving up, I sought out their warehouse on the undesirable side of town. Worse, I soon realized that it was necessary to walk down an alley to get to it while large barking dogs were anxious to meet me.
Giving myself a pep talk, I made it to the modest warehouse. The look of shock from the employees had me begin the conversation by introducing myself. I inquired about what improvements they wanted to see regarding what I was selling. The one question plus the follow-up question of ‘why?’ led to a friendly and insightful conversation.
The big surprise came the next day. The person standing me up three times called to apologize. She asked me to set a new date to meet with the promise that she would be on site. Her first words to me were, ‘everyone in the warehouse said they never before experienced the respect you showed them.’ Two meetings, lunch, and energetic conversations led to my selling to the entire company in that location. My fortune 100 competitor, the premiere vendor, was in shock! My success mantra is,
To sell well, include everyone you encounter!
Similarly, management needs to sell their ideas to employees for the business to be successful. Entrepreneurs need to get others on board for collaborative efforts. As business people, the goal is to enjoy good word-of-mouth spreading that encourages more people to purchase from us. Inclusion among diverse populations is the best strategy of all for achieving success.
Your Story: Include Everyone You Encounter
Test the theory for yourself. Take a moment to consider experiences where others discounted what you had to say. Recall how those events made you feel. Now think if you occasionally do the same as others due to the usual excuse of a lack of time. Begin tracking your extra effort to include everyone you encounter in conversation and if the inclusion proves beneficial after the fact. Efficiency is essential, but so are politeness and respect.
Even when someone has ridiculous ideas, it is still possible to learn from the encounter. On the other hand, some that appear absurd upfront may prove to be worthy of research before a formal decision.
What most people need to realize is that when you include everyone you encounter in conversation, it becomes the opportunity to open more doors leading to future business. Otherwise, a stalemate in procedures becomes severely lacking. By using a welcoming approach, you will be far more likely to welcome new clientele and more robust business growth.
In Conclusion: Include Everyone You Encounter
The best sales strategy of all is inclusion. When we finally realize that to sell well, we must include everyone we encounter, ‘the impossible’ appears to fade. Respect for all, whether your staff, prospects, clients, or people at networking events, will increase business and client loyalty.