January 05, 2017
Help me help you
A former salesperson from Gold Systems emailed me recently to comment on an article I had written and to say that he was starting his own company. David Colliver is his name and his new company is Colliver Technology Group. He's helping companies get a handle on their sales support technology.
Years ago David was a sales person at my company. I remember he heard me speak at the University of Colorado and he made it his business to get a job with us. I liked his attitude and we hired him to be our newest sales person. Besides being a likable person, the thing that stood out about David was how effectively he would ask for assistance. Many sales people were too afraid to ask the CEO to help them with a deal. I don't think I was that unapproachable unless I was starting to suspect that they couldn't sell. I did my best to help without stepping on their toes and I always believed that if I went on a sales call, they were the leader and I was supporting them. Dave got that and we had many enjoyable and profitable sales trips together.
The idea of "help me help you" came from me noticing that many of the salespeople (not Dave) would ask for help by sending me an email saying "Can you help me with a client?" I would answer, "Sure, who's the client." They would answer "Big Insurance Company." I would respond, "Great, I would love to work with you to get the sale, what do you need me to do?" They would answer, "Can you send an email to their VP of Whatever saying how much we want their business? Me - "Sure, who are they" Them - "Jayne Smith." Me - "Ok, what's their email address?" If it was tedious to read that, it was really tough for me and each of my responses would get slower.
Dave was different. He would send me an email more like this:
Hey Terry, I'd like your help with a deal I'm working on with Big Insurance Company. I'm to the point where I would like to ask them for a meeting where we will go out together and try to close the sale, and I'd like you to send an email to Jayne Smith at Jayne@BigInsuranceCompany.com. I want you to send something like this if you would please. Feel free to put it in your own words.
David Colliver who is your account representative at Gold Systems has told me that he is trying to set up a meeting at your headquarters to discuss our proposal. I would love to join David on that trip so that I can meet you and answer any questions about how we'll take care of you as our customer. I'm sure David has done a great job and I would like to now introduce myself and accompany him on his next visit with you at Big Insurance Company headquarters. If that's OK, I'll ask my assistant Angela to help us coordinate schedules.
Thank you and I look forward to meeting you!
(Back to Dave's voice here) If that looks good to you Terry, just send the email, copy me and I'll work with Angela to make it happen. I've also attached a copy of our latest proposal to this email in case you want to take a look.
Thanks! -- Dave
Do you see the difference? Rather than me having to drag every detail out of the salesperson over multiple emails, Dave made it extremely easy for me to help him. He anticipated everything I would need to know, and in fact gave me more than I needed. I could have looked in our CRM system for the contact's email and our proposal database for the document, but that would have taken me more time and might have delayed my response to Dave. You see he was making it so easy to help him so that I just did it as soon as I read his email and gave him what he needed. Dave was and is a nice guy but he did this to improve the odds of getting my help and making the sale. I've always appreciated him for that, and I've told this story in many mentoring sessions.
So before you ask someone for help, take a lesson from Dave. Anticipate what they need to know to help you, and give it to them clearly and concisely in a way that makes it easy for them to help you.
Dave, all the best with the new company! I'm sure you will do a great job of anticipating your customer's needs and making it easy for them to buy from you.