Sales and marketing should create value in and of itself for the person being sold. I grew up a salesman and a product guy. I love creating and building products. I launched my first product when I was nine years old and the first thing I learned was that it didn’t really matter how good your product is–you still have to “sell” if you want people to use what you created. Even at nine years old I saw no point in a product that no one used. However, being as fervently anti-establishment as I was growing up (and through my twenties), I could not be that wanker sales guy. This notion has stayed with me and I’ve always believed that the right way to market and sell is not by manipulations, but rather by caring enough to understand your buyer and giving something of value at every exchange.
I’m not interested in selling something that is of no value to the buyer, but it goes beyond this. If I speak with you about my product I’ve always believed the right approach is to first give value. I try to learn about you and your business and I hope to be able to give something useful to you whether you buy my product or not. Chances are I’ll learn something by understanding your business and challenges, but also even if you don’t buy my product I’ve created a meaningful and real connection. There are a ton of ways to give value. At MindTouch, I expect the sales team to be experts in our field and to be deeply passionate about delivering exceptional product help and customer success.
Every day I get a sales call (or three) and dozens of sales emails. It is rare salespeople and marketers take a giving approach when they’re trying to sell me. It’s always about them. I have no patience for this. However, I got a sales email today that really stood out. In this case it was from a MindTouch customer. This is from, Travis, the VP of Sales at Zuora. He’s writing for one reason: to sell me. Here’s what he wrote.
I do have a favor to ask. I would love to understand how you price and package, if you have any complexity in your current or planned pricing, and how you sell and invoice to see if there would be anything we could help with. We’re busy enough that we don’t try to manufacture demand, but if you have any needs in the areas of pricing, packaging, payments, etc I would love to have a short conversation.
Let me know if you have a couple of minutes to talk this week.
Thanks and I hope to talk soon.
If you know anything about Zuora he’s not exaggerating when he says they’re busy. Obviously this email initially got my attention because he’s a customer and he starts by singing our praises, but if this were a mere manipulation it would have backfired in a big way. You can tell Travis is genuinely interested in understanding if he can help MindTouch. He’s asking about our pricing and products (in this and subsequent emails). This is a great sales email because Travis is willing to give and he’s communicating with eagerness and sincerity.
Here are several ways you can give value when you’re selling or marketing your products:
- Share industry news that affects their business. Even if it has nothing to do with what you’re selling. Especially if it has nothing to do with what you’re selling.
- Promote their company and products to others in social media or by making introductions to prospective buyers that you might know.
- Celebrate and promote their industry or discipline.
- Share case studies and white papers. Make sure these are actually helpful and not just fluff pieces.
- Connect with, discuss and promote them through social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Read their company blog and comment if you have something valuable to the conversation.