Charlie Needs PR People … Not Salespeople

August 9, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

Today, I received an email encouraging me to apply for a role with the Charlie team in Chicago as a key salesperson for the company’s new product.  Seemingly innocent, everything about this email rubbed me the wrong way.

Having just returned from the 2017 FPRA Annual Conference, PR:  It’s Personal, the power of personalized communication was fresh in my mind.  And this email was anything but personal.

Ironically, Charlie’s success is built on technology that “finds information from 100,000’s of sources” to build one-page profiles about your professional contacts, helping you get to know them without doing all the work.

Perhaps Charlie should have put its technology to the test.

I once researched the Charlie app, but never used it.  In fact, I had not received any previous emails from Charlie since the day I signed up nearly one year ago.  Simple research would have uncovered my lack of engagement and unfamiliarity with the company, along with my lack of experience (or interest) for a senior account executive role in sales.

The advertised position has enough responsibility that it reports directly to the CEO, yet Charlie clearly used an email distribution service to spam everyone on its list without any knowledge of the recipients’ qualifications.  The kicker:  it was sent to the inbox of the email address where I currently work, which, for others, might have sparked an awkward office conversation.

While Charlie’s tactic may eventually achieve the desired outcome, the company could have taken a far more effective approach.  A little research would have gone a long way to personalize this outreach and, as a result, reach the right target audience with the right message in the right place at the right time.

Before it can recruit the right salespeople, Charlie may want to consider recruiting someone to drive a more personalized approach to its PR.

Focus on What Keeps the Client Awake at Night

October 11, 2011

by Julie Primrose

I normally find the Harvard Business Review to be right on-target but I had to questions this recent blog post that describes the worst question salespeople can ask as it struck against one of the Curley & Pynn Five Steps to Professional Success.

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson assert that the single-worst question salespeople can ask a prospect is “What’s keeping you up at night?”  They explain that customers don’t always know what they want or need and most salespeople don’t have the ability to effectively diagnose customer needs under pressure.

While I’m not claiming to be an expert in sales, focusing on what keeps the client awake at night is an integral part of our strategy and culture.  This first step reminds us to maintain a thorough understanding of our clients’ challenges, while always thinking of (and implementing) ways to ease those concerns.

By having a solid understanding of what keeps our clients awake, we’re able to asses our clients’ needs and focus on how we can provide the best solutions.  Although it may not be the best question to ask outright during a sales pitch, having a keen understanding of what keeps your clients from sleeping is something all communicators, including salespeople, should focus on to be successful.

Did Hard Rock Invent the iPad?

March 22, 2011

by Roger Pynn

I had to laugh when reading a cnet news article on the success of the iPad, and how with the release of the iPad2 Apple is driving consumers crazy by making them wait in line for the product rather than allowing them to reserve one.

Brooke Crothers’ article “Five ways the iPad2 works on the buyer’s subconscious” focuses on “Consumer.ology” author Philip Graves’ evaluation of why we buy things … and more importantly in this case are willing to wait to buy them.

I’ve long said people buy for one of two reasons:  hope of gain … you want it so badly you can’t stand it; or, fear of loss … you’re willing to pay just about anything to keep it.  The iPad and its successor fall under hope of gain.  It is the shiny object on the table.  Those insurance policies they try to sell you at nearly every electronics retailer in existence appeal to fear of loss once you own the object of your desire.

But the wait factor is nothing new.  And it wasn’t invented by concert promoters, video game manufacturers or Apple who for years have been able to create long lines waiting outside their doors.

Years ago we worked with the Hard Rock Café organization opening restaurants around the world and devising programs to keep the brand hip.  To this day you’ll occasionally see a line outside a Hard Rock … “the queue” where folks will stand in line to pay an amazing amount for a hamburger while surrounded by rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.

In the early days, those lines were not necessarily a sign of a full-house, but rather they were designed to create the perception of one … to give consumers the belief that what was inside was so cool it was worth waiting for.

Apple has a Hard Rock Café by the tail.  The iPad was cool.  The iPad2 is cooler.  Just wait and see.

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