By Linda Koco
PHILADELPHIA – Sam Richter had a meeting with an executive at Allianz, and he wanted to be present with information that shows he is keeping up with the company and cares about how it is doing.
So he arrived about 10 minutes early, sat in his car, and booted up Google on his mobile device. Then he he put “sales intelligence” to work, he told a pre-meeting workshop here at the start of the Million Dollar Round Table annual meeting.
Sales intelligence is the term the chief executive officer of SBR Worldwide, Minnetonka, Minn., uses when referring to the use of technology to find valuable data to use in sales meetings. This is data that helps sales professionals build meaningful relationships with prospects and clients, by making the other people feel important.
“Millions of data points are circling in here right now,” he told the audience, but many times sales people don’t know how to access that information. So he discussed the internet tools he uses to get that information. All are free, he emphasized.
Looking for the ‘one thing’
In the car that day, what the sales marketing expert did was look, on Google, for the most recent information he could find that would be useful in his upcoming conversation. He was looking for the “one thing” that the woman from Allianz might want to know, the one piece of data that might invite further discussion and business down the road.
Richter didn’t want just to wing it or to draw upon data in company brochures and materials. He said he wanted better information, data that was current and relevant.
So, instead of searching through the 48 million results that came up when he plugged in the name of Allianz into the Google search box, Richter used various Google tools to refine his search—tools that he said are available on every search page.
After bringing up those 48 million Allianz search results, he clicked on Google’s “more” button which allows sorting by topic. Then he clicked on the “news” option. He sayidhe does this 10 minutes before every meeting “to find out what is going on in the other person’s world, today.”
Next, he clicked on the “search” button. This allows Google users to narrow their search to results by order of time, even down to the last hour. That’s when he said he found an item posted just six minutes previously on Market Watch. That item stated that Fortune had named Allianz as a "best place to work."
“Perfect,” he said. “That was the one thing that Sherri (the Allianz executive) cares about today.”
So, once he was in the building and greeting Sherri, he said he congratulated her on the news. She asked what news. When he told her, she was surprised and wanted to know when it happened. “Oh, six minutes ago,” he said he replied, explaining he had been out in the car and “Googled it.”
Getting permission to move forward
The value of that search and the subsequent conversion with Sherri has to do with what happened next.
The exchange gained him something very important, Richter contended. “I now had permission to ask the next question.” The next question in that case was, what makes this such a great place to work?
This spurred Sherri to answer, and in the process talk about the things of much importance to the firm. Later on, she asked Richter to tell her about himself. “Suddenly, I’m not selling. I am being invited to tell stories,” he recalled.
That turn in discussion was important in terms of relationship building.
Studies have shown that sales people have only three seconds before buyers decide whether they want to do business with you or not, Richter pointed out.
The buyer decision is subconscious and emotional, and has a little bit to do with how the sales person looks, talks and smells, he said. “But a lot of it has to do with what comes out of your (the salesperson’s) mouth.
“If the first thing out of your mouth is about you, you are already building a brick wall…. [The buyer] feels sold to, and gets defensive.”
If the sales person comes with charts and PowerPoint presentations, and “if everything is about your company, your brand, your experience and how many people you’ve helped, do you know what they’re thinking?” he asked. “They’re thinking, ‘When is this person going to go?’”
But if the salesperson talks about the other person, “you destroy that brick wall,” he said. “It works every time…talking about the other person shows them that you care.”
Numerous search tools
During his presentation, Richter discussed numerous other search tools, in addition to Google, that salespeople can also access to obtain information related to their clients and prospects.
Is this reasonable to do? he asked. Before going into a client meeting, is it reasonable for the salesperson to do a Google search, pull up a profile on LinkedIn, go to Searchable or use some of the other tools?
His answer was yes. It won’t be easy at first, he added. But in a little bit of time, he predicted, “it will be super easy.”
© Entire contents copyright 2013 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.