PART 1 of How to Be a Memorable Salesperson
What does it mean to be memorable?
According to the dictionary, being memorable means being “easily remembered” or “worth remembering.” The word originates from a mid-15th century French word that meant “within the mind.”
Being memorable to your buyer means being on their mind when they’re ready to proceed with a purchase. Being the seller who’s memorable gives you a distinct advantage over your competitors who are less memorable.
To be memorable, you have to make an impression that sticks. An impression is “a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings or conscience.” It’s that impression, more than it’s you personally, that gets remembered.
In this 12-part series, we will take a close look at 12 ways you can make a lasting impression. The CONNECT2Sell Blog focuses on connecting sellers to their buyers, and being memorable is part of any strong connection.
- Part 2: Collaborate With Buyers
- Part 3: Personalize Your Pitch
- Part 4: Be a Giver
- Part 5: Create Value
How Will Creating an Experience for My Buyer Make Me A Memorable Salesperson?
We have entered the Experience Economy. Researchers have been talking about this for more than 20 years, but sellers have been slow to respond. In the B2C (business-to-consumer) space, we see more progress than we do in B2B (business-to-business). Experience is what links buyers to sellers.
In B2C, it’s easy to see what comprises a buying experience. It’s the DIY workshops, the makeovers, the special events, the in-store chef demos and samples, and other ways we put our own imprint on what we buy. Online, it’s often driven by AI that offers us similar product recommendations, help, or opportunities to interact in choosing options. We remember what we are more involved in.
Experiences give buyers a way to derive personal meaning from an interaction. Sellers can facilitate more personalized interactions to create experiences that transcend mere transactions.
Experiences will make you memorable. What’s more, they will override price objections. Esteban Kolsky found that 86% of buyers will pay more for an emotionally satisfying experience that is relevant and personalized than for something generic. The value of a meaningful and unique experience significantly exceeds the value of the goods and services accompanying it.
Research by Gilmore and Pine shows the progression. Buyers are no longer satisfied with goods and services alone. They are looking for experiences. And those experiences must be relevant, meaningful and personal to each individual buyer.
That means it’s up to you, the seller, to provide the experience. It can’t be generic, one-size-fits-all. It has to be special. When you provide a meaningful and personalized experience, you’ll make yourself memorable and you’ll be more likely to make the sale. David Lewis-Hodson, director of Mindlab International (where they study the science of decisions), describes it this way: “Shopping experiences trigger brain activity that creates euphoric moments. These euphoric moments can be triggered by experiencing something unexpected.”
How Do I Create a Memorable Buying Experience?
The field of Customer Experience is burgeoning. B2B companies are adopting strategies to ensure their buyers have positive and personalized interactions at every touch point, online and human-to-human.
Don’t wait, though, for a formal program to roll out. Most companies assume their sales team is already providing the bulk of the experience for customers. At a time when buyers are demanding more, companies aren’t yet providing more or equipping sellers to provide more. So it’s up to you.
The good news is that it’s EASY to create a memorable buying experience that’s relevant, meaningful and personal. Buyers in our research study affirmed this (video clip).
10 ways you create experiences for buyers every day:
Ask thought-provoking questions
Brainstorm to generate ideas
Discuss the pros and cons of various options
Offer insights that are new
Demonstrate genuine interest in the other person
Follow through on promises or commitments
Connect around common interests
Do a little extra to show you care
All you really have to do is lead with these behaviors instead of the sales-y ones that are antithetical to creating a memorable buyer experience.
10 things NOT to do if you want to stand out in a crowded field of sellers:
- Don’t send generic emails or leave generic voice mails.
Don’t pounce on new LinkedIn connections with a generic pitch.
Don’t think of buyers as suspects, prospects, MQLs, SQLs, or targets. They are people.
Don’t talk about your product. Talk, instead, about their problem.
Don’t try to cram it all into a quick call because you asked for “just 5 minutes of your time.”
Don’t assume you know what they need.
Don’t pretend to have something in common.
Don’t rely on small talk about the weather or open with trite questions like “how are you today?”
Don’t make promises you won’t keep like “I’ll send that information over right away.”
Don’t ask a string of qualifying questions that are boring to the buyer.
Buyers have come to expect these behaviors from sellers. When you show up differently, it’s unexpected and refreshing. It’s differentiating. Memorable.
How Can I Learn More About Creating an Experience for Buyers?
Forrester has been leading the pack in why and how to create experiences for B2B buyers. Papers by their analysts, like this one from Mary Shea, give indicators of how you can work on this corporately.
Individually, the best resource for learning more about buyer experiences will be in observing your day-to-day interactions. After all, you already are a buyer in the B2C space. Think about the buying experiences you’ve responded favorably to and consider ways you can make this work with your buyers.
Here’s an example. When you go out to eat, you may opt for a place like Chipotle, Subway, MOD Pizza, or a Mongolian grill. There’s a huge growth trend in quick serve restaurants where you direct the assembly of your food. You’re paying more at these places and doing more work to customize your meal. This is because, research reveals, “consumers will migrate to businesses that allow them to be participants in the process of creating what they want.” (source: The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers)
How can you involve your buyers in the process of creating what they want? Learn from your experiences as a consumer, make space for your buyers to co-create solutions with you, and voila! You’ll be learning about creating experiences as you actually do exactly that.
In the book Stop Selling & Start Leading, we’ve included stories from sellers who made extraordinary sales by creating experiences with their buyers. It’s based on both research with buyers and stories from sellers, providing the behavioral blueprint you can use to make yourself memorable!
And don’t forget to work on additional ways you can become more memorable, too.
Stick with this series to read more about buyer research and field observations with sellers.
Check out this video playlist on the People First PS YouTube Channel with more tips and research with buyers. There are 25 videos there, each one lasting just 3-5 minutes.
Read the book that started it all. DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected is packed with ways you can make yourself more memorable to buyers. It was ahead of its time in bringing research with buyers directly to sellers.
Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment to become more memorable. Standing out in a crowded sea of sellers is a surefire strategy for boosting your sales success.