What does Ben Horowitz and I have in common? We both love hip-hop and have a blog. So in Ben’s Blog style, I’m adding a lyrical quote to my blog.
Here’s the rules: chop it, bag it, stash it, stack it.
Get in, get out – that’s an O.G.’s classic. Song: 1-900-Hustler Artist: Jay-Z
PAC(w)K It Up!
We sat at the edge of our chairs, legs locked and core engaged as if we were at the bottom movement of a squat. Our eyes were focused at center of the room, listening eagerly to one of the many messages that would change our professional and personal lives at the University of Notre Dame. Our professor addressed our EMBA class in South Bend, Indiana. On this day, his class would transcend beyond the needs of driving revenue performance, shareholder value, and blossom into a resource we could use in all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal. It was on that day, that all 60 of us learned how to create and maintain relationships with a purpose. PAC(w)K is an acronym for Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge. Obviously with this being a sales blog, I will explain the concept with a sales slant, but you can take these same steps and use it beyond sales as it truly extends to all aspects of business and personal lives.
What is PAC(w)K?
Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge (PAC(w)K) is a concept you can use to create, establish, maintain, strengthen, and nurture any relationship you have with another professional or person in your life. Think about that prospect you have in your current pipeline. You conducted a demo, or given a proposal to them and suddenly what you thought was a slam dunk deal forecasted for the month is now in jeopardy because the prospect/customer has gone radio silent on you. They are no longer returning your calls, and not answering your emails. You are thinking, “What’s up? I thought this was going to happen.” You start recalling your conversation with the prospect because you are questioning what could you have done better. Why are they not responding to your communication? Chances are you probably did execute the first appointment, demo, and proposal meeting well. But, did you connect with them on a professional or personal level to truly understand the needs and wants of their business as well as what motivates them? During these moments of silence, reps go crazy trying to figure out how to get the attention of prospects. They send emails with lowered pricing or extra add-ons in an attempt to sweeten the deal. They also continue to call, drop in, and leave messages with product specific information hoping the prospect looks up and responds. PAC(w)K assists in decreasing the radio silence. PAC(w)K helps you know what your prospects care about professionally and personally. PAC(w)K gives you an advantage because it gives you an overall better relationship with your customers. Having a better relationship with your customers will create more selling opportunities than you can ever imagine.
First rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest in the relationship you desire to cultivate and nurture. This is important because you cannot PAC(w)K everyone. There is a limit to the people you can PAC(w)K.
Second rule of PAC(w)K is to think about the 10 – 20 relationships you want to create, establish, maintain and nurture. These are the people that you will communicate or PAC(w)K as frequently and naturally as the relationship grows. Think about those key decision makers in the key targets accounts you are trying to win.
Third rule of PAC(w)K is to recall the conversation you had with them and what needs, concerns, or interest revealed. Think beyond the sale. Go passed your product and your interest to get to what is the driving force behind their need. Apply the same thought to them as a professional. Use your tools, social media, and the internet to learn more about them. There is tons of information out there. Use it, learn from it, and apply it to your strategy when you communicate with them.
Fourth rule of PAC(w)K is to take what you learned from the third rule and support it with substantial information. This is where you want to use resources like Pulse from LinkedIn (personal favorite) , Flipboard app, news and magazine resources, and thought provoking messages like TedTalks, and Kahn’s Academy. Remember the first rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest so be open to all forms of information. It can be a comic strip or a funny youtube video. Let the relationship you are developing establish the boundaries of the information you are using. As the relationship grows so will the boundaries because you are consistently learning more about your customer’s interests.
Fifth rule of PAC(w)K is to never forget the first rule. It is not about your interests. It’s about the interests and needs of the other person.
How often do you PAC(w)K? Is it once a week, monthly, or quarterly? The truly depends on the relationship and natural flow of information. I have some people I PAC(w)K weekly because our relationship has evolved to that level of communication and others I PAC(w)K quarterly. Sales professionals, I think you will need to read the situation first and then start applying the PAC(w)K rules to enhance your communication to the prospect.
Applying the PAC(w)K
PAC(w)K is the easiest thing to do. You can do it with a phone call, text, an email, a letter and more. You can use LinkedIn, facebook, and other social media as well. Variety is best used when dripping. I opt for using the phone or email so I can ensure that my message is specific to the person. Social media like linkedIn and facebook are powerful because you can share articles and TedTalks. Kim Nicol, who is building a meditation business, targeted to professionals in the legal industry around mindfulness uses social media to PAC(w)K her clients. She shares articles and her blog to reach and stay connected to her clients.
Can you have two PAC(w)K list?
I have a professional PAC(w)K list and a personal one. I have ten people on each list. These are the people and relationships that I deemed valuable and ones I’m working to maintain.
Now you know the rules and how to apply it…what are you waiting on. Create your list and PAC(w)K it up!
1. Check out the 6th Annual AA-ISP Leadership Summit happening in Chicago, April 6th – 8th. You will learn from the best experts in sales at this meeting.
2. Looking to take your financial intelligence to another level? My dear friend, Jackie Koski wrote a book, titled Money Letters 2 My Daughter. It is an excellent book that will educate you about money. It is also the perfect book for anyone graduating from high school or college.
These tips are focused on your most prized asset in your sales professionals portfolio and it is right there next to your mind power. This prized asset is often overlooked and taken for granted. Perhaps you never valued this asset until now. So what is your most prized asset? It’s your VOICE! Both Inside Sales and Field Sales professionals must be aware of their voice as both professionals utilize the telephone to connect with customers/prospects.
Your voice is an asset because it is the first sound that is heard when you begin to communicate. In her Wall Street Journal article titled, Is This How You Really Talk?, Sue Shellenbarger states “A strong, smooth voice can enhance your chances of rising to CEO. And a nasal whine, a raspy tone or strident voice can drive colleagues to distraction.” We all know that we have less than 7 – 10 seconds to make a first impression. Let’s talk about how to working on this small five tips will help you on your way to mastering sales.
Five Voice Tips
1. Drink room temperature or lukewarm water or tea. This enables your vocal cords to relax while warming your throat so that your voice comes out of your mouth smoothly. Avoid cold drinks, dairy products, and medication that dry your throat. Cold drinks will restrict your vocal cords. Consuming dairy products promotes mucus in your mouth and it can clog your vocal passages. Stay away from anything that gives you a dry throat and causes you to clear your throat. No one wants to hear any of that on the phone. So keep it simple to warm water and tea.
2. Warm up before jumping on the phone. Think about it. Do any professional singer, athlete, news anchor, master of ceremony, or television host take to their audience without a full warm up? They take their time and warm up their bodies and focus their minds on the task at hand. A sales professional warm up would include slowly enunciating words to work out the mechanics of saying your value proposition clearly. Repeat this 5x to ensure that your brain, voice, and mechanics of your mouth are all on the same page. Next, play with the tone of your voice while saying your value proposition out loud. This warm up will benefit your vocal chords, your throat, and your jaw muscles. You will see how this will help you make that cold call with flawless execution on your pitch.
3. Stand up and smile as you are talking. This gives you greater projection in your voice and smiling warms up your tone. People can sense when you are smiling and talking. It makes for a better conversation.
4. Call yourself and leave a voicemail with your elevator pitch or value proposition. Objectively listen to your voice and ask yourself these three questions. A) Would I take this person’s call? B) Would I return this person’s call? C) Would I be interested in what he/she is saying? Listen to your voice and the content. If either is off, you will have to go through your warm up again or you may need to simplify your sales pitch. Be honest with yourself on this.
5. USE BIG FONT FOR YOUR SALES SCRIPTS. One of the easiest ways to lose focus on delivering a warm voice with a value proposition is squinting your eyes to read a pitch you have that was handwritten, wrote in cursive, shorthand, or just too small to read. Why? If you are focused on figuring out what you are reading, it will cause stress and potential panic. Both, stress and panic are easily picked up during a conversation due to your CHANGE in VOICE. Prevent this from happening to you by typing your value proposition in BIG FONT and having it posted in your workspace at eye level so you can see it very clearly. Doing this will enable you to speak clearly and focus on delivering a smooth pitch rather than going into a panic attack because the customer/prospect took your call and you can’t communicate because your pitch looks like a microeconomic calculus derivative problem set that makes no sense unless you are eyeballing it closely with a magnifying glass.
Your voice is your unique calling card that announces who you are. Don’t take this precious asset for granted. Work it like every skill you are striving to improve. I have no doubt in my mind that these five tips will help you gain the attention of your customer/prospect and initiate a meaningful conversation that will hopefully open the door to a great opportunity.
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Happy selling my friends.