Our business culture and industry constantly preach value. What is the value added? Is this worth my time? Will my customer find this valuable? How can I provide the most value to my client? How can I do so much in the least amount of time?
This last question is prevalent because most would argue that time is the most precious gift you can give or receive. Some even argue it is worth more than money, power and intelligence. Time is so precious that we strive to not be wasteful with it.
Before I arrived at INBOUND 2017, HubSpot’s annual inbound marketing conference, I was able to view the speakers and choose my breakout sessions. I carefully chose my classes based on my role: Client Relationship Specialist. Meaning: I chose a lot of sales courses.
Now if you’ve ever taken sales courses, they are usually energetic and meant to inspire, and they preach about not wasting your time. As a sales representative, your time has a revenue dollar sign attached to it. Therefore, the more time you waste, the less money you make. This leads to no money for you and no money for your firm, which usually results in an ample amount of time for you without a job.
Throughout my sessions, time seemed to be a common theme. With that in mind, here are three things I learned about not only saving time, but making small investments in your time to gain huge results.
- Oversaturation of Content – Now you may be confused by this as a marketer. Keeping in mind this was an inbound conference; shouldn’t we be doing everything in our power to create content that people are interested in? (gasp). What do you mean by there is an “oversaturation of content” (double gasp)?
What I gathered from this point was this: the internet has an abundance of information easily accessed by anyone. It is no longer worth your time to create pointless content that gets lost in the shuffle. You have to be more creative than that. Produce high-quality content that allows your message to stand out and measure the results. If something is performing really well, repurpose it. Never create something that doesn’t provide value to your audience. Think about their time.
- Quality Over Quantity – This is similar to the point above but worth highlighting. Aside from creating high-quality content, let’s have high-quality conversations. A sales representative is constantly communicating. Drop the small talk and obvious questions such as, “Am I speaking with the decision maker?” or “Have you heard about our products/services?”
With an oversaturation of sales people, there needs to be a shift toward high-quality conversations. Spend the most time on people who have a problem and dig deep to find out how you can help. Ask better questions and listen even more. What has been successful for me is to be honest, curious and genuine. The person on the receiving line doesn’t have much time, and your time is just as precious. Generate quality discussions and results will follow.
- Relationships are still #1 – This is my favorite and final point. If you think that emails, LinkedIn or any form of social media bonds you to a prospect or client on a personal level, you are mistaken. I regularly use all of these outlets to get in front of a prospect or keep in touch. However, my best days come from thoughtful conversations.
Some find it difficult to generate relationships in the real world when everyone is so consumed in the virtual world. In a room full of marketers and conversationalists, I spoke to very few people in person. I was blown away by crowds of people immersed on their phones, laptops and devices when we were welcomed with 20K+ people from 100 different countries.
Overall, what I gained was this: Being good at relationships is few and far between—it’s easier to hide behind an email or generate conversations through LinkedIn. But I challenge you to get back to being human. Technology and social media are important; a business needs both of these platforms to stay relevant. However, the most value for your customers, clients and promoters is your people. Your time is well-invested if it’s spent generating and maintaining solid relationships.
Overall, the conference had little to do with marketing solutions. But it did teach me that time is very precious, and it gave some good ideas on how to better manage it. I’d be curious to know how your sales process allows for maximum efficiency in minimal time. What makes your firm valuable?
I appreciate your time in reading this blog. If you have questions, or want to discuss this topic further, please contact Desiree Gordon at 440-605-7235, or email Desiree.