They Are Impressed When You Know This About Them

Quote of the Week

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”
— Thomas H. Huxley

They Are Impressed When You Know This About Them

by Art Sobczak

Every once and a while, a sales rep, on a follow-up call with me will say, “So how’s the barbecue cooking team doing?”

“Keeping that golf game sharp?”

“Your kids doing well? You have a a daughter still in college, right?”

Like most other humans, it makes me feel good when someone takes interest in me and my interests. (If they are sincere, and the situation is appropriate, of course.)

It shouldn’t be that uncommon when someone does it well. After all, with all of today’s technology, CRM, etc., you would think that most sales reps would be all over this powerful aspect of human relations and sales.

But most are not.

If you are, you have an edge.

People buy from people.

People they know, like, and trust. Building relationships that build businesses in the process.

And for you, that means being truly interested in the people you call, both from a business and personal view will pay big dividends for you.

Business information, naturally, is what you should be gathering on all of your calls. How the business is run, what their specific needs, wants, and objectives are.

But you should get personal information too. This takes you to the next relationship level. Especially if you do any type of account management, calling customers on a regular basis.

This includes such data as hobbies, special interests, family, accomplishments, leisure time activities, organization memberships, and special dates such as birthdays. You can glean this info from several sources.

    • From the prospect/customer. Of course this is your best source. You can be reactive, listening carefully to any clues they bring up during the call, and then acting on them. Like if they mention they’re going to be gone for a week, ask, “Oh, business or pleasure? Where are you going? What do you like to do when you’re there?”

Or, be proactive, and ask about them personally, “I’ll be spending the weekend at kids’ basketball games. You have any kids, Mike?”

  • From secretaries/assistants. They can be bountiful sources of information for you. Ask them about the boss. What does he/she like to do with their spare time? Ask them to describe the boss’ office. What is on the walls, shelves, and desk? Any photos, trophies, plaques? When is his/her birthday?
  • His/Her Competitors. Don’t laugh. If you sell to your customers’ competition, listen carefully to what they have to say.
  • Publications. If you specialize in an industry, be sure you get the trade pubs for that niche. You’ll learn more about the industry, the competition, your customer’s business, and maybe even your customer.
  • Search engines. Be sure to Google your contacts periodically to see whatever might come up. I found out one of my customers was a marathon runner and it really impressed him that I knew.

To make recording this information easy, have special fields set up in your CRM. At the end of each call, update your fields with the new info you gather. Set up reminders to alert you to birthdays each month.

Using Your Information

There is a wide gap between people who are perceived as “Product/Service SALESpeople,” and “Buyer’s Helpers.” You bridge that gap when you use custom information. Here are ideas.

  • On your calls. As you build your relationships, try to mix personal information in your conversations. Get the prospect/customer talking about their interests, and you’ll also find them talking about orders. Every phone call doesn’t have to be a business call either. Why not a Happy Birthday call?
  • Through the mails. Send birthday cards, anniversary cards, notes of congratulations or thanks, or anything to mark special occasions. News clippings about personal or business interests are always a fine gesture.

The important point here is that every time your customer receives one of these items from you, you are amplifying your image in the customer’s mind.

When you use personal, custom information, you peel away the layers of business formality and possibly resistance that exist before most, and during many sales transactions.

By appealing to personal needs and interests on a one-to-one basis, you burn a long-lasting impression into the customer’s mind that translates into loyalty, appreciation, respect, and mutual benefit in terms of the business relationship.

Art Sobczak, Business By Phone Inc., provides how-to ideas and tips for rejectionless prospecting, selling, and servicing by phone. See articles, and other resources at

Coaching Call to Action

One of my clients told me recently, “You know, Andrea, you are the only person other than my mother and husband that send me an anniversary card. How do you remember?” As Art shares above, using a Contact Management System to store this data is a must. Reaching that stage in life where even recalling the simplest word can be a challenge, I depend on my systems to remind me.

This week spend some time thinking about how you are staying connected with your customers and prospects. What changes do you want/need to make that will make a difference? Do you have systems/technology in place to support you? Tell me about it in an e-mail and we may share your example in a future newsletter. Simply e-mail

Community Involvement

Warm Welcome to Keefe Tech Program Attendees for Empowering Yourself

A warm welcome to our new Coaching Tip of the Week subscribers who I met at Keefe Tech Tuesday night during my program “Empowering Yourself: 5 Steps for Gaining Control Over Your Life”. I enjoyed sharing my tools for gaining control of your life and participating in the new openings, ideas and visions that people experienced.