Sunday, July 12, 2009

Speaker Sue Supplier Session - WEC09

Sue Hershkowitz-Coore (SpeakerSue for friends, websurfers and twitterheads alike) provides more, usable information in five minutes than most people hear all year. Her tips are for people who need to communicate with other people. That means pretty much anyone. She focused this session on suppliers to the meetings industry. The 75 minutes were gone in an instant.

I cannot begin to capture all of the great ideas included in this presentation. I'll hit on the general framework of the talk, and then highlight some key insights for me.

The context of "sales" has changed for suppliers to the meetings industry. It was never a good idea to be an "order-taker" as a supplier, but it would be death to do so now. We must develop a business case for our clients to use to sell our services internally. Here are four key questions to ask yourself to help build a business case:
  1. What are the 3-5 most important strategies for your clients?
  2. How does your client (the individual) contribute to those strategies?
  3. How does this particular meeting contribute to the success of the strategies?
  4. How does your service or product contribute to success?
When you're building a proposal, focus on the themes and words that the client used in their own RFP. Demonstrate your ROI, and give them all the tools they need to feel safe and smart.

The balance of the presentation focused on four themes: Prospecting, Following Up, Social Media, and Emails that Sell. You can find the details in the notes above.

Some key lessons for me:
  • "Make them feel safe and smart"
  • Ask for their opinions/experience/insight, and then shut up
  • Be authentic, be yourself, be quirky
  • Earn the right to advance in the sales process -- "Would it be ok if I...?"
  • Disarming candor: "How would you like me to follow up with you?"
  • Twitterize your email: direct, clear, concise, positive
  • "F.U." means "follow up"
  • Treat each call/contact as new
  • Verb + Promise + a Number + Quirky = much higher response rate
And some "nevers" that we should all appreciate:
  • Never ask "How are you?" - you don't have that right
  • Never say "Touching base" - that's for baseball players
  • Never mention previous failed contacts in a new message
Finally, "If you're not using social media, you are losing sales."

More at SpeakerSue's blog or @SpeakerSue on Twitter.

*****
Sue added these comments in response:
"I love you, Jay! What a great recap and amazing illustration. As always, you bring clarity. And about those "nevers" you quoted...yes! On a cold call, never say, how are you. On a follow-up, never touch base; have a reason for the fu... to provide a link, an article, an insight about a new situation at your hotel, venue, with your service or to ask: We're ramping up for 2010 and would love to know what you need next year ....

"What you do enables learning and retention, not to mention fun. Thank you!"

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