After teaching yesterday and then attending a customer dinner, I drove here to Vermont late last night to run a 2022 sales planning meeting today. Just stepping out of the car a bit before midnight with the headlights stretching to light up the barn between the dense fog, the rain and the pitch dark of November, I immediately sensed that in just the two weeks since I had been here last, it had become the Taint Season in Vermont. That very weird time between leaf peeping and skiing when it Taint Winta', Taint Summa', Taint Leaves. Taint Nothin'.
Since I was here two weeks ago, the first snow dusting has come and gone, it's bone-sapping cold, and as always during November, there's a deep stillness to everything just in the anticipation and the readiness for the countdown for deep winta'. Even given that everything is cloaked in various shades of brown this morning, this is the authentic Vermont! Sure, there are those two brilliant sunshine days in the summa' just after the first haying out in the field below my house, and, of course, there's the winta' wonderland of snow during the 10 days around the holidays, but too often we forget about Wednesdays in January when, yet another storm has dropped yet another foot of snow, and it's not been above 10 degrees for a week.
With six generations of Vermonters before me, I know and love (most of the time) the authentic Vermont. I just need to peel away the fanciful picture postcard images every once in a while to find the real Vermont. As I sign off on this blog looking across at the barn, the first dusting of snow has just started. Gotta love Vermont!
At the end of the day as sales and marketing people, all we really have is our own authenticity as we hone our marketing messaging, true up our personas and their related value propositions and chose our toys from our treasure chest of blogs, posts, CTAs, paid & organic ads, events, PR campaigns and even billboards and snail mail. The problem is that it's just very hard and takes a very long time to "sell" trust, and in fact, if it's pushed too hard, one comes off as Joey Bagadonuts, or even worse...a car salesperson.
We're moving rapidly to the end of a very busy semester, and in my Marketing class on Wednesday, I had the pleasure of welcoming back to world-renowned marketing guru, speaker and professor, Jamie Turner, to speak on just this subject of authenticity.
Jamie in his very unique authentic style brought us through the specifics of his new book "An Audience of One" and the details of what it takes to be successful in the new science of One-on-One Marketing. Just fascinating!
Jamie's slide is above, and in the reality of my life as a sales and marketing guy and observing way too many salespeople handing out Celtics and Bruins tickets as their primary sales tools, I unfortunately could substitute the word "ads" with "salespeople". Not you and I for sure, not in our industries most probably, but that cluttered perception of not being authentic still too often gets in the way between selling our products, and what we really should be doing which is is selling the value that our products and services bring to our prospects and customers. That's authenticity!
From next Monday to the end of December, we now have about 25 days to market, to develop, to demo, to quote and close business. In reality, that number "25" leaves a lot to the imagination since although you may be very busy sitting in your home office working hard, the multiplicity of signatures you need on a deal from people who may well be packing it in for vacation on the 20th spells out that there is now a very short period to put points on the scoreboard. All the more reason to...
- be authentic
- be hyper-focused
- be focused on customer value, not on you.
Have a great day selling today! I'm off to prep for my sales meeting.
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me! Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.