As someone just diving into sales, I have to laugh at how similar the science of selling is to the art of dating. There are so many parallels in strategy, success and failures that are easy to see, unless of course you haven’t worked in sales or been actively looking for a partner in crime. This is what I’ve gathered from my experience so far:
Texting is in, calling is out
I’m not saying that picking up the phone is outdated or ineffective, but it is certainly no longer the way most conversations start in the modern world. Whether you’re asking someone out on a date or reaching out to a prospect to set up a meeting, written form of communication prevails, whether via text message, email, apps or social media.
First, it’s a quick intro or value prop of why you’re worth the person’s time. Then, it’s a bit of a back and forth to set up a time and day to have a deeper conversation. In the dating scenario, you may exchange phone numbers and text for a while, or initially engage via a dating app before meeting in person. In sales, you often use social or email tool like Socedo, SalesLoft or PersistIQ to send out targeted tweets or emails, before picking up the phone for follow up. In fact, a recent Gartner study predicts “that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interaction with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” In this case, I hope this prediction is only true for sales!
You need to be (on) social
I believe that social media is a friend to sales people — and just people in general. We use it to express our interests and personalities, while being well aware that we’re making ourselves easy to find. Some may argue that it has taken the mystery out of dating because it can help you form an opinion about the person before you even meet, but it can also be beneficial because it eliminates catfishing (no one wants that!) and gives you an idea of the person’s interests so you can know what topics would drive a good conversation.
Same thing goes for sales. Social channels and tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Socedo, provide us with valuable information that help us make better decisions in our outreach strategy. In fact, the Aberdeen report states that “73% of salespeople who use social selling as part of their sales process outperform their sales peers and exceed quota 23% more often.” And Hubspot can attest that “social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.” Stats don’t lie, folks!
You got it, now maintain it
It’s all too easy to get too comfortable and stop putting in the effort necessary to maintain a relationship once you’ve closed the deal — but whether you got into a committed relationship or turned that prospect into a client, don’t miss opportunities to further nurture the bond and retain the business for years to come. After all, according to Forest Research, it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep current ones.
In the dating world, it’s not enough to simply “get the girl”, you have to find a way to keep her if you want long-term success. The same goes for sales — you have to ensure customer success by frequently checking in and sending regular updates if you want to maintain the revenue stream and open up the door to referrals and positive testimonials about your business. Lee Resources states that “91% of unhappy clients will not do business with you again”, therefore, putting in effort throughout the engagement not only ensures customer success but a brighter future.
And sometimes, it just doesn’t work out
It’s all fun and games when things are going smoothly, but unfortunately the real world is full of rejection, on and off the clock. In both sales and dating, you’ll get rejected by prospects, you’ll be strung along or worse, you’ll invest a lot of time into a relationship that’s just not a good fit for either party in the end. From what I’ve seen, it’s all part of the process and all you can do is get back out there and try again. Each attempt arms you with valuable experience and knowledge for bigger achievements later on.
Whether you’re trying to find love or make more sales, remember that success is not build in a day, but daily!
Yulia Vereshagina is the Director of Marketing at Skaled, a company that accelerates sales organization growth by examining fundamental sales process and using cutting edge technology to enable clients to optimize, modernize, and thrive in the constantly evolving world of SMB & Enterprise sales. Twitter: @SkaledCom