How to Sell Like a Dog (without working like one)

3 years ago, my husband and I decided to get a dog. We were living in a small condo, and had our hearts set on a Beagle we had seen online at the local shelter’s website. Ie: a smallish dog that would be cuddly and cute, and would fit our lifestyle. Small enough for the limited outdoor space and 2-bedroom condo we lived in, while known to not shed or be too needy.

dog on beach

When we arrived at the shelter, we learned that the Beagle we had seen had already been adopted. But they had another dog they thought we would like to meet. This one was a little older, twice the size of the Beagle, would definitely shed in the house, and would probably not fit well in our limited space. We decided immediately to keep looking, knowing that this dog would not be a good fit; but agreed to visit with her at the shelter.

Within a few moments, we were introduced to this much-larger, much more difficult to manage Border Collie. She walked into the room, and immediately jumped up on my husband’s lap, kissed his face, and cuddled right up to him. Within a few moments, she noticed me and proceeded to do the same.

We were sold. Immediately. We couldn’t stop thinking about her.

A few years later, Rozzi is so much a part of our family that I can’t imagine life without her. She sheds, she is incredibly needy, she takes over the furniture, and she is big enough that it limits us in our options for new places to live. And she is the best thing that ever happened to us.

Rozzi is by far one of the best salespeople (dogs) I’ve ever seen. She sold us on that first day, and she’s continued to get her way ever since. She knew what we wanted. She knew what we needed. And she knew how to counteract our indifference to her features (size, breed) by appealing to our emotions. Once you’ve been snuggled by a rescue dog, one who was on the verge of being put down at an overcrowded shelter just days before she was picked up and brought to another shelter for adoption; you can’t say no to her. This was no longer about a list of features. It was a decision made purely by our emotions.

Since that day, Rozzi has ‘sold’ her way into getting everything she wants. She has full access to our furniture. She gets the best toys and treats. She gets everything she wants, because she goes above and beyond to continue playing on our emotions. She continues to be a true sales expert, and people can’t say no to her.

So what does this all mean for your own selling techniques? How can an Attorney, a CPA, or a Retailer use the tactics that come so easily to dogs in order to improve their own results?

It’s a matter of responding to the emotions and needs of your prospective clients and customers. If a woman gets a hairstyle that makes her feel sexy and confident, and she truly experiences those feelings, that next haircut will be an easy sell even if the price is high. If a financial planner can provide ways to reduce debt and increase savings for their clients, so that they eliminate the stress and anxiety that come along with financial worries; their clients will associate that relief and security with their expert advice. If an attorney provides their clients with the security of knowing they have someone looking out for their best interests, who will make a difficult situation easier to navigate through so that they can ease their worries; they will be more likely to turn to that attorney for their needs in the future.

What emotions are your clients and customers experiencing as they make a decision about whether to buy from you? How can you meet them in their emotional state, and respond to those most basic needs?

We’d love to know what tactics and strategies you use when selling at an emotional level. Please comment below.


Sales, Meet Marketing and Customer Service. Now Hug.

sometimes, a hug is all what we needIn the middle of a very difficult web development project with a new vendor, I am quickly realizing that most of what was promised to me by the sales representative was never communicated to the marketing team. As a result, there is now an ongoing back-and-forth argument as to what was promised, what is being delivered, and what the finished result will be.

Have you been there? Did you ever hire that vendor for another project after your experience? If you’re like most buyers, you probably ran away and never looked back.

So how do you make sure that your customers aren’t going through this same pain when hiring your company? Here are some ways to make sure your sales and marketing teams are speaking the same language, so you don’t end up watching the backs of your customers as they run away from your company.

  1. Take a good look at your structure.
    1. Step outside of your organization for a minute and look at the structure. Are the people who sell products and services involved in implementing them, or dealing with customer service issues? Once the sale is done, is it passed off to “someone else” to manage the job?
    2. How closely do your sales and marketing teams work? Do they know each other? Are they able to ask questions, provide feedback, and offer their insight?
    3. If you see a trend of separation between sales, marketing, and customer service, now would be a great time to start planning a big meeting between those groups. You may be amazed at the insight, critiques, and new ideas that will come out of that meeting to propel your business forward.
  2. Get everyone involved.
    1. In any new customer meeting, specifically in a B2B or high-ticket environment, it is crucial to offer prospective and ideas from all sides. If you are selling a complex product or service, especially one that will be used by the client to generate business, you must have all parties involved at those initial stages. They will answer questions, help you sell, and determine customer needs from the onset. They will also reduce or eliminate the problems that come up later from lack of information.
  3. Be your own customer.
    1. This idea is presented in thousands of business guides, courses, and books, yet is often overlooked. Do you want to know how your customers are being treated? Don’t just ask them; experience it for yourself.
    2. Call into your company from a different phone number, go through the painful automated process, reach a sales representative, and start asking the type of questions that keep your customers up at night. Then continue through the entire process, from proposal to execution, and make notes along the way.
    3. Forget everything you know about your profit margins, the internal structure of your company, and the cost of operations for a minute, and just focus on the customer experience. Enlightening, isn’t it?
  4. Reward based on your customer’s success and referral business (for B2B companies).
    1. Now that you have discovered what is broken, it’s time to start repairing. Work on a new structure that involves all teams and start developing a better approach to conducting business.
    2. Develop an incentive system that rewards overall performance and success. For instance, if a customer has such a great experience with sales, marketing, and customer service that they refer 3 new clients to you, then all of those representatives should be rewarded, not just the new sales rep. who answers the phone to close those 3 referral clients.
    3. Once everyone knows they are accountable for overall performance and referrals, I guarantee it will change the “sales promises, customer service delivers” attitude.

The Cold Shoulder

Cold Calling

It’s funny how you can get into the habits of your daily routine, and quickly forget how you ended up there in the first place. Every once in a while it’s important to take a step back and read your business plan or an industry book to reflect back on the basics and keep yourself on the right path.

I am about halfway into Hubspot’s latest book, titled simply ‘Inbound Marketing‘, and was reminded this morning of how and why I ended up in social media marketing in the first place. Quite simply, I hate cold calling. Despise it, in fact. Picking up the phone hundreds of times  a day to be hung up on by people who don’t want to hear from you, don’t want your product or service, and don’t have any interested in receiving the information they’ve asked you to send just so they can get you off the phone? Nope, never understood why this torturous practice of “dialing for dollars” was always pushed on our tired sales teams.

The difference between Cold Calling and Inbound Marketing is so simple, it almost seems too good to be true. Cold Calling is a numbers game. Theoretically if you contact 1,000 people a month that don’t want to hear from you, you may stumble on a few that actually do. But Inbound Marketing is the exact opposite theory – it is about creating great content and resources that makes the people who actually want your products or services come to you. It’s the equivalent of a retail boutique having a gorgeous window display in a great location that attracts interested shoppers, vs. the ‘cold way’ of reaching out to millions of people over the telephone and hoping that a few of the masses will be swayed by your approach.

It’s time to put down the phone and start providing the content that will bring your next customer to your door. The market is there, and they are ready, all you need to do is meet them halfway before your competitors do.

– Melissa Albano