I had the privilege to be a guest on Lori Highby’s podcast, Social Capital, recently. We spoke about “How Manufacturers Can Show Up In The Digital Space”.
Something I am known for is curiosity – which is the foundation for much of the work I do. When Lori asked me about why curiosity is so important to me, I explained that curiosity is a tool that has enabled me to learn and grow. I’m on my 5th career and curiosity has definitely served me well in developing new skills and exploring different fields!
I encourage others to use it, especially my current clients who are mainly in the manufacturing world. I want them to be curious about marketing, outreach and how they can make a change from the traditional trade shows. The pandemic has changed the way we do things, but we must view it as a disruption, not an interruption.
We’re not going to go back to the way it was; our world has changed! Even if we go back to live or in-person events, there’s still going to be a digital component.
Curiosity is like a muscle, if you’re not using it, it just won’t grow! It’s all about growing, learning, and exploring the virtual world which may seem overwhelming to some, even a bit scary. That’s why I say that if you’re curious, you can learn so many new things, and become more adept at how to use all these virtual technologies!
Here are two tips to help salespeople in manufacturing industry – although it really can apply to other businesses, fundraising, recruiting and well, life in general!
- Ask those questions and do your research: learn about who your clients are and what they’re looking for before trying to sell to them. What’s happening is those same clients are doing that with you. Know that they’re doing research about your company; looking at your social media and websites because they want to know who you are before they’re even going to think about buying from you. As a salesperson, you need to do the same thing. Dig in, find out who they are as much as possible. There’s a lot of information you can find online about someone. I’ve had some salespeople feel uncomfortable with this, but I say, “In this world, if someone posts something publicly, like on a social media platform, it is done because they want to share something.”
2. Instead of selling, be generous with your information, share your knowledge, try to be a guide to who you’re trying to sell to. So if you’re in an engineering role, as a salesperson, you want to share all the intricacies of what goes into solving problems for your prospects. Give your prospective client (the person looking at your profile) some insights.
One of the big stop-gaps for a lot of the people in manufacturing sales is they assume that people already know things. My response to that is, “You’d be surprised at what people may want to learn about, and the people that may be doing the research aren’t always the people that know about how that tool works, or what machine is on that tool.
So be that guide, share information, and also share a bit of information about yourself. For instance, I may post something related to cycling because that is something I do. So you need to focus on what are some of the interests you have that might relate to your industry role. We know when it comes to connecting with people, if you have a common interest it can be beneficial to building a rapport.
I make the correlation back to trade shows – when they would have those casual conversations. It’s about taking those casual conversations in real life and bringing them over to the virtual world.
Something else Lori and I spoke about is the resistance that exists to virtual networking, especially in the manufacturing space.
This is something I’ve been studying in the manufacturing sector.
And here are some observations:
- A lack of understanding of how social media works. So,we need to do better in how we’re explaining this brave new world!
- Fear of the unknown also contributes to this and most people naturally don’t like change. It’s like those comfortable shoes, right? You get into this comfortable lifestyle and then if someone comes along and says “Let’s change,” sometimes we resist.
Solutions aren’t easy. Not everyone embraces change so this is where curiosity is that muscle that needs to be exercised. The more you’re learning, the more you’re asking questions. Without fail, you will overcome some of those fears!
We fear things we don’t know or understand.
We often need to get to where we can show up and trust in the process. Mindset is a big part of overcoming those fears. Without an open mind, you’re probably going to have some difficulties.
We all do some things we don’t want to do because there is a reward at the end.
The reward in embracing digital is that there are opportunities to make connections and get leads that one day could lead to a sale.
Sometimes you’ve GOT to do things you don’t want to do to achieve a longer term goal.
To hear the live interview, follow this link: