TALKING SALES 90: "Humanizing customer engagement"

John Smibert

Human engagement                "Effective engagement requires being human and generous" - Discussion with  John Smibert.

In this discussion Cian McLoughlin emphasizes that, in order to elicit a response, sales engagement needs to be personal - plus it needs to address something of interest and value for the recipient .

Cian Portrait570x618If you receive something automated, quite often that's how you treat it; you drop it into your spam or your junk and you ignore it. If you receive something personal, that's how you respond because it creates that personal connection.

Cian stated that the "Giving is Gain" philosophy is very, very important. And ..... it tends to trigger reciprocity. If you've given me something of value, innately I have this sense that "I must give something back".

View or read the interview below to learn more.

Cian McLoughlin is a guru in win/loss analysis, he's a speaker, an author, and a leading advisor to the sales fraternity.

See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here


John: Hello! I've got Cian McLoughlin with me again - welcome back, Cian!

Cian: Thanks, John!

John: Hey Cian, in our last discussion we talked about keeping the conversation between the salesperson and the customer very real, very human, and not having the impact of the commoditisation of the sales process and sales automation impacting the way in which you interact with customers.

Cian: Yes, absolutely.

John: Really important. I know since then you've told me a couple of examples of the way in which you see other people and yourself doing this.  I'd love to share those with the audience.

Cian: Sure. As you know, I recently launched my new book, Rebirth of the Salesman. Prior to the launch I wanted to make sure I got bums in seats at the launch and I wasn't sitting there on my own with the book. I wanted to use an email marketing tool to send out invitations to all of the people in my network, and to be honest that's probably not a forte of mine. I hadn't used an automated email marketing tool before, so I struggled to get it to work in the way I needed to, and because I was pressed for time I decided, "You know what? I'm just going to send individual emails to all of the people."

John: Write an email for every person.

Cian: Yes, yes, literally write-and it was probably 250 to 300 people. So over a period of a couple of days... Not that I wrote the entire email - I mean, the body of the email was relatively similar, this is the date and the time, etc. - but I customised it; I put a specific message to each individual because I had a relationship with them.

John: And I got one of those!

Cian: Yes, you got one.

John: And I thought you were writing directly to me!

Cian: And I was. And what was really interesting for me was the level of response I got back. I mean, I know normally what the hit rate of email marketing campaigns is, and albeit I knew many of these people... but the response rate was through the roof, and people told me they felt very happy to receive an individual email, and they felt touched that I'd taken the time to do that, the irony being I'd intended to use an email marketing tool but I hadn't been able to use it. But it was a really, really strong to me, that if you receive something automated, quite often that's how you treat it; you drop it into your spam or your junk and you ignore it. If you receive something personal, that's how you respond because it creates that personal connection.

John: I've always also taught people, and done it myself, that if you find something that you think is of value to somebody, a lot of people will share.

Cian: Yes.

John: But if you write a note, saying, "I've read this article and I thought it was relative to what you were trying to do in this area," then you're really thinking about that person, and that's the way it comes across, that human "I know you, I know what you're searching for. Here's something that might help."

Cian: Absolutely. I think that "Giving is Gain" philosophy is very, very important. And what it does also, whether you're doing it intentionally or unintentionally, is it tends to trigger reciprocity. If you've given me something of value, innately I have this sense that "I must give something back to John, because that was great and I really appreciated it." I think sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking "Well, there's a great unwashed market out there. I must try and get to everyone." the only way to do that is to do an automated campaign, and then we miss out on that personal touch.

John: But everybody's doing that.

Cian: That's exactly right.

John: And what do you and I and everybody else do? Ignore it all.

Cian: We do, yes. Whether it's an inbound email or a cold call or any of the other ways people are contacting; if it's not relevant and personal, there's a fair chance it's going to end up in the bin.

John: I think that's really good advice, and I'd like to make sure we reinforce it with further discussions. Are you going to come back, Cian?

Cian: I'd love to.

John: Thank you very much for your time!

Cian: Pleasure, John!


More interviews with Cian McLoughlin:



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