“Embrace your weird when you reach out to people, don’t be afraid to be yourself.” – Jeff Kirchick in today’s Tip 719
How do you embrace your weirdness?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Jeff Kirchick, Jeff is Vice President of Enterprise Sales and an early employee at Next Caller. He is also the author of the new book, “Authentic Selling: How to use the Principles of Sales in Everyday Life.” and a 2010 graduate of Princeton University. Here he is:
Jeff Kirchick: Hello Everyone. This is Jeff Kirchick. I’m the author of the new book, “Authentic Selling: How to use the Principles of Sales in Everyday Life.” And today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about one of the themes of the book, which is about bringing authenticity into your selling process. Specifically, what I’m going to talk about today is called outreach. Something that I think is pretty critical in cold outreach is to embrace your weird. I know that sounds strange, but we’re all weird people. In fact, I don’t even know what it means to be normal. It’s a very subjective term. Even people that seem fairly normal are probably pretty strange, if you peel the onion, we all have really interesting stories to tell. We all probably do things that might seem weird. Maybe you sing in the shower, maybe you sing to your pet. Maybe you have weird, you know, superstitions or idiosyncrasies that most people don’t get to see. At the end of the day, we all have these little things about us that make us unique, and we need to embrace those when we’re reaching out to people for the first time.
In fact, I would argue that being your weird authentic self allows people to trust you more. It lets them know that you are an honest person, that you are willing to be who you are and not pretend to be somebody else. But I think a bigger reason why it’s important to be weird is because, let’s face it, there’s so much stimulus that people are seeing today when they’re, you know, getting hit up by vendors, constantly solicitations left, and right, you really need to stand out from the pack. I like to use the expression that you need to be weirder than Waldo. And the reason for that is because, well, when I was a kid, I used to, you know, get the where’s Waldo books. And while there was a pretty weird guy, I mean, he would wear these like red and white striped t-shirts and hats and stuff, but he was still pretty hard to find, even though he was kind of weird and he, you think that he should stand out. He was still pretty difficult to find in those books because you really need to be incredibly weird to stick out like a sore thumb.
So I argue that you need to be weirder than Waldo in your cold outreach. And what that means is actually abandoning what a lot of traditional sales training programs would teach you to do. For example, think about all of the emails that are in your inbox right now from, you know, like marketing emails from companies that whose emails lists you got signed up for. Have you go and look at your inbox right now and look at the subjects of all those emails. They probably have some sort of like catchy salesy thing to get you to open the email, but be honest with yourself. How many of those emails do you even open? You probably delete most of them.
So why would you treat your customers the same way that these brands are treating you? If you don’t like the way that they’re reaching out to you constantly with the next sale or gimmick to get you to open an email. Why are you adopting the formal sales training program that teaches those things? So you need to be embracing your authentic self when you do your outreach.
I’ll give you a couple of examples of this. Please don’t judge me, but I have a cat who let’s just say she tweeted with American airlines. About a decade ago, I had a Twitter account for my cat. They had a back and forth exchange. My cat was asking if they serve fancy feast onboard, American airlines was, you know, telling her that they don’t. And anyway, this was a long back and forth conversation between the largest airline on the planet and my cat.
Well, what does it have to do with sales? Well, when I was selling to American airlines, six or seven years ago, I had a subject line with American airlines tweets with my cat. Now, if you’re the recipient of that email, chances are, you’re not ignoring it because it’s pretty strange. The email itself, I talked a little bit about, you know, this exchange, I sent a screenshot of it. It was pretty cute and funny, but I also, you know, it was pretty short and sweet about, you know, how it made me admire their brand and how they must be interested in a product like ours as a result of what I had learned from this experience. This is a hyper-personalized strange. Yes, but highly effective email. And yes, it did end up getting me a meeting because they found it very endearing.
Another example of this would be when I reached out to one of the largest retailers on the planet, the guy was an Auburn alum. I referred to the iron bowl game seven or eight years ago in which Auburn returned a field goal for a touchdown to win the game. Anybody who goes to Auburn is a big Auburn football fan. So leading off an email with the self-awareness of saying, “Hey, I’m a vendor. I know you don’t want to hear from me, but here’s the link to this game” that gets people a little bit, you know, off the edge of their seat and interested in meeting with you. So embrace your weird when you reach out to people, don’t be afraid to be yourself. It is good to be weirder than Waldo
Once you’ve picked up your copy of Jeff’s book, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!