Going against the grain is just one of the MANY things that can help marketers, sales people, and entrepreneurs alike. The unexpected keeps people on their toes, makes them smile and makes you stand out. Curious to learn some more unconventional business success tips? HubSpot expert, sales prospecting aficionado and inbound marketing consultant Fab Calando, strategic growth and mindful leadership specialist Paul Lafleur and Lately CEO Kate Bradley Chernis sit down to reveal a few that might surprise you.
We all know when we are being sold to. And there's nothing wrong with that. But even though society celebrates the direct go-getter, when it comes to sales, take it easy. You gotta warm folks up before you dive in!
After all, there's nothing more important than making a potential customer feel and know that you care for them. So take the time to actually do that – and remember, smalltalk makes everyone feel small if you treat it as something you have to get out of the way.
Instead, take the time to pay attention. Find the common ground. “How’s the weather?” can be the most powerful question in your toolkit IF you use it as an access point rather than a stepping stone.
Plus, the more you share, the more they share. When folks know that Kate’s not JUST the CEO of Lately, but a real person (a wife, a daughter, a sister, an auntie and sometimes a pain in the ass), it gives them the opportunity and the permission to reveal more. Then you have the makings for a conversation which begins to lay the groundwork for trust. And trust is EVERYTHING in sales.
Your gut is the most powerful truth teller you have access to. The question is… Are you listening? Kate’s entire backstory is one huge testament to listening to your gut – because she wasn’t.
After a toxic workplace left her with a partial permanent disability caused by compounding stress, Kate realized that her body was sending her physical signs that her lifestyle was causing her more than just mental anguish. Stuck in multiple leg casts, hobbling around on crutches and eventually even restricted to a wheelchair for nearly 2 years, she finally started to listen and left the workplace in search of a healthier environment.
Shortly after, her first angel investors (previous fans of her Sirius/XM radio show) met with her and dropped the bombshell that they wanted her to have their 50,000 bucks to go and start a company. And the rest was history.
But it took debilitating pain to get her there. Don’t let that be you!
Your gut always knows. Pay attention to that sucker!
Coming out of a horrendous company culture where nobody felt listened to, especially the women who happened to co-inhabit the boys’ club that was rock ‘n’ roll radio, Kate knew she had to create a company culture that worked. Like ACTUALLY worked.
So how do you build a “customer first” culture mentality?
The answer is: live by the Golden Rule, a.k.a., do unto others as you would do to yourself.
First, treat each other, internally, like humans. Be flexible. Be sympathetic. Constantly put yourself in their shoes. Kate's entire team follows each other on social media and is constantly sharing what's happening in real life. This allows them to work "nicer." She builds fans from within, first. And it radiates from the inside out. Because employees are humans, too!
When it comes to building your external network, “the hard way is the way,” as Kate likes to say. With marketing, especially, that means building a base community, individual by individual. This is the secret to creating not just customers but fans – evangelists.
Evangelists work for you, for free, because they can’t help it. So the value is exponential. And because Kate had spent years in radio turning listeners into fans, she knew exactly how valuable this tactic would turn out to be.
Entrepreneurship is a lonely road, where you metaphorically get punched in the face multiple times a day, so having a solid network championing in supporting you is the reason it’s all worth it.
It really does take a village but it’s a village you must create.
Don’t be fooled – if you build it, they won’t come. That’s a ridiculous myth. Create your network FIRST so you have people to sell to. It’s backwards, yes. But there’s nothing worse than having something to market and no one to market to. And this shizzle takes time… A long, long time.
Most companies throw money at the problem. Because they don’t want to do the hard work that organic takes. But because the payoff is so big, Kate went all in on organic, betting on that longtail.
People think of marketing as pushing out messaging. But Kate knows it’s a dialogue – a two-way street. The key to organic social that works is all about listening. Listening to what people want, what they don’t want and being able to iterate on a dime because life moves pretty fast and validation is everything.
Are you building a product that people truly love?
Organic requires you to be in the sandbox, literally answering comments and DMs yourself. Yes, you can have help with automation or A.I., but a human has to be down on the ground, getting dirty. It won’t work, otherwise.
By the way, Kate’s 100% organic strategy gets Lately a 98% sales conversion. (Just in case anyone was wondering if all that hard work was worth it!)
Big companies who focus on a ton of outbound have often taken the opposite route. Organic just isn’t part of the mix. But more and more, that tactic is proving shortsighted. People don’t like to be tricked, annoyed, spammed or lied to. They can smell it coming a mile away. And because so many companies automate the heck out of every single thing they do, we all suffer from “robot overwhelm.”
People also don’t like to be treated like a number. They want to hear a human voice, be looked at in the eyeballs and have their questions receive custom, non-canned answers. They want familiarity and comfort. But for big companies, it’s impossible to be one-on-one and scale, all at the same time.
As the world’s most human A.I., Lately works with big companies to give them large quantities of messaging that are custom tailored to any audience or brand voice. It’s writing model is keen to discover the key words and phrases that it knows will inspire meaningful interaction and drive customers to engage.
Lately also gives CROs and CMOs the ability to take it’s A.I.-generated content and syndicate it across any employee-owned social channel with Parent Accounts. For companies on the cutting-edge of employee advocacy, executive thought leadership and social selling, Lately’s ability to zero in on what customers care about puts these companies leaps and bounds ahead of the pack.