Want better sales traction? Answer these three questions.

September 18, 2014 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.”

– Tom Peters 

This pretty much sums up the marketing ecosystem we are all operating in right now. As the director of strategy here at Loomis, I bet I get 10 or more sales calls per week from somebody who has some interesting new “technology,” or “dashboard,” or my personal favorite, “content delivery platform” they would like to share with/sell me.

And, if I had unlimited time there is no question that the hour or two spent with each of them could be useful in some regard. But the truth is, like yours, my time is a precious resource and there will always be more new “technology” available to us than there are hours in the day to review it.

So how do you keep clients up to speed on the best, most relevant innovations in the world of marketing?

Here’s how I decide. When reps with new innovations call me up, I ask them three questions and depending on the quality of their answers, I make time to meet with them or, give them the old “send me something to review first.”

  1. Can you explain it to me very clearly and in a way that the value proposition is clearly understood? 

I figure anyone who can make it that simple, and really understand their product well enough to do this on a phone call, will not waste my time in a meeting. Further, if they do this well enough I will have already done my homework by the time the meeting comes up and we can spend more time discussing how this is applicable to my clients and less on the nuts and bolts of the technology.

LOOMIS Imagibrand Process

  1. How do you price it? 

I cannot stand hemming and hawing when it comes to the numbers.  Tell me what it costs and tell me how you base that pricing. If you are too embarrassed to discuss the numbers, or you want to noodle on this point, I tend to think yours is not a company I would want to expose to my client’s business.

  1. Can I talk to a current client of yours, preferably in the _______category first, before I set the meeting?

Again, I may or may not follow up on this depending on what all I have going on and how well they handled the first two questions.  But if they can’t give me a name, preferably from a category that is relevant to whatever client I might have in mind, then again, I start to question whether the time investment is worthwhile. Answer this question quickly and you are definitely somebody I should meet.

One example of a company that nailed all three of these criteria is Inbound platform provider Hubspot. From top to bottom, the staff at HubSpot is incredibly buttoned up and knows their product inside and out. They can each deliver the elevator speech with perfect precision, they’re not afraid to speak to the numbers and they deliver a world-class product in every way possible.

In the 13 months we’ve been a client, I can only think of twice when someone was stumped for an answer. And when it did happen, the person who was helping me politely asked if he could call me back with an answer by end of day. Both times, they were back to me in a matter of hours.

Experiences like this sound like no brainers on the back end. But once upon a time, HubSpot was just another technology platform I really didn’t have time to hear about. It was only when I realized these folks were on their game and that even a one-hour meeting wouldn’t be a waste of time, that I agreed to meet. And I’m certainly glad now that I did.

It’s clearly documented that that most precious commodity in business today is time and we all have a responsibility to our companies, our clients, our families and ourselves to protect the time we have. Bottom line – companies looking to connect have to understand that and need to come to the table ready and prepared.

Carl Thompson is Chief Strategist at The Loomis Agency, the country’s leadingchallenger brand advertising agency


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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