Last Friday I attended a free training seminar by Steve Buiskool at Sandler Training in Cheltenham (even us copywriters in Cheltenham are allowed out occasionally). The seminar was on how to avoid giving away consultancy for free during the sales process.
Steve was good, very good. For starters, he disproved the old adage that free things are always low value. In three hours I got some great input that topped up my technical sales knowledge. It was also a good opportunity to network with other attendees. And had I wanted to indulge, there was a big basket of Wagon Wheels and Kit Kats beside the coffee…
Steve broke with convention and gave us his feedback form early on to demonstrate an interesting point about filtering out the serious nos to your approach at an early stage. The logic? This leaves you free to focus on prospects with whom what you say really resonates.
This idea, manifest in the big, bold ‘YES’, ‘NO’, ‘THINK ABOUT IT’ on Steve’s feedback form, struck a chord with me. That’s because, the night before, I’d been reading Seth Godin’s Small is the New Big. In particular, the section titled ‘“Maybe,” getting people not to say’ (page 131).
It’s an interesting tale of a saleswoman who flies across North America to make a sales call on a major company. She battles with indecisiveness in a corporation led by a business visionary and can’t get the buying team to say either ‘yes’ or ‘No’ to a sure-fire winning proposal. Eventually, she leaves without the sale but with, as Godin explains, a great lesson on how to make change happen (or not) in organisations. I’ll say no more than to urge you, if you haven’t already done so, to read Godin’s book and enjoy this piece.
And while you’re at it, do read the rest of the book. It’s clear to see why Godin has earned his reputation. Long or short, each of the book’s pieces is a gem – not least, a few wise words for every B2B copywriter:
Business-to-business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.
The quality of Godin’s thinking and writing hit a note with me too and reminded me of the mentoring I got from Mike Rigby at MRA nearly 10 years ago. As I’ve said elsewhere, Mike’s coaching, guidance and passion for editing, editing and editing have served me well ever since.
So that’s how Steve, Seth and Mike resonated with me in the last week. If you haven’t already done so, buy yourself a copy of Small is the New Big (I got a pre-owned copy for a penny plus postage on Amazon).
Then see what resonates with you.