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It finally happened.

I actually met someone who has the exact formula needed for making any customer trust that the sales person has the customer’s best interest in mind.

Enter Katie Campo, our new Fishman rep. Our meeting was set for Saturday at the NAMM show, and this was the first time we had personally met.

You Win the Sale by Showing the Customer You are Invested Specifically in Them

Right out of the gate, from our first email exchange, Katie was fast, articulate, and on top of both her product information as well as her professionalism. While I have found most reps have the email side down, in general, that is how they elect to communicate.

To this point, Katie had definitely met my expectations, but there was a surprise I had no idea was coming.

What are the odds that someone could surprise a person who has been in the industry a long time? Our world is an internet vortex swirling with massive amounts of information, so the opportunity to be a standout salesperson is limited. The information is already out there for any interested consumer to find.

As the information highway has begun to move faster and faster, the unique individualism of a sales rep seems to have diminished, and we seem to have forgotten the personal side of the sale. In a business that is based on expression, to ignore the personal aspect could be a mistake.

Even in Today’s World of the Internet, Sales are Still Based in Trust

Katie and I were to meet at 3:00, and at 3:00 I was there with a smile, but not sure who to give it to because I didn’t know what Katie looked like, as we had not yet met. But as I walked onto the floor and looked around, I heard a voice, “Menzie! Over here.” Katie was standing at a workstation, and as I prepared myself for a standard presentation, I couldn’t help but wonder how she knew who I was. Pleasantly, I would soon find out.

Her first words were about @4410, CMC’s performance center, and about its uniqueness, and how well it is doing. She knew every detail about the different programs we offer, and she had run the data on every aspect of everything we do. Katie knew my company’s history, the regional style of our customers, and she knew how her product could be integrated into my business, and she knew how it could help us grow in sales. Within five minutes, Katie had shown me she was a completely unique sales person. Instead of telling me about her product first, she told me about my business. Katie knew more about my business than my mother, and she discussed with me what role her product could serve to better facilitate growth in our stores. Don’t get me wrong: certainly, Katie knew her product inside and out, but her angle of engagement was first letting me know that she knew about my business. Once she had made me comfortable and had established a rapport, she moved into why she believed her product was a great fit.

The Big Take-Away

What do you do when someone or something makes a deep impression on you? That’s right, you talk about it. No sooner than five minutes after my meeting with Katie, I happened to cross paths with Joe Lamond. As you would expect, we talked about the NAMM Show and how it was this year with the expanded convention center, and we shared different experiences we both had at the show. Guess what I talked about… Katie and Fishman and how refreshing she was. Joe and I often talk about millennials because we both are knee-deep in that world. We also are knee-deep in the world of sales, and we know that with an expanded internet, styles of salesmanship are changing and becoming less personal. Well, at least, that is what I used to think.

The Close and the Lesson

As luck would have it, at a NAMM function on Saturday morning, I ended up in a conversation with several folks, one of them being Larry Fishman. Anyone who knows me knows that when I believe in something, I share it. This was my chance to let Larry know how impressed I was with Katie, and how well she represents his company. We spent the next several minutes talking about how happy he was with her work. By that time, I knew she would be the subject of my next column in MMR and the reason is a no-brainer. As I shared with Larry, Katie’s method of sales embodies the very principles of best practices in real time.

Right now, in our industry, people are trying to figure out whether it’s good times or bad. So here’s my closing thought: As long as we come from the space of making our priority interacting with others, and as long as we put the needs of others first, our industry will be fine. It’s when we serve our agenda first, and put the well-being of relationships second that there is “Trouble in River City.”

Thanks, Katie, for reminding me of that!

Menzie Pittman is the owner and director of education at Contemporary Music Center in Virginia (CMC). Following a performance and teaching career spanning more than 32 years, he founded CMC in 1989 and continues to perform, teach, and oversee daily operations. He has 50 years of musical experience as a drummer and drum instructor. Menzie is a frequent speaker at NAMM’s Idea Center, and a freelance writer for MMR’s “Small Business Matters” column.



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