“Gambling debts” might occur to you as an answer to this question. Actually, money has little to do with why I worked for over a year checking in clients at Skin To Soul, a massage and Myofascial Release studio located in Woburn, MA.
In 2011, Gwyn Thakur and I led a panel for Boston’s HubSpot User Group called “From Intern To CMO.” Five local CMO’s gave their advice to early-career marketers on how to grow their career. Mike Feinstein and Dino Cattaneo both said: “If you want to be a leader in marketing, you need to work in sales for at least a while.”
As the former head of a graphic design agency, of course I have sales experience. Hwever, I wasn’t using a CRM or any method of systematic selling — and truth be told, I didn’t think of myself as a salesperson. And if you’re a mid-career marketer in an organization where marketing and sales report up different lines, it’s hard to make a case to your managers to let you try your hand at sales. You could change careers, but hey — I really like my marketing job.
At Skin To Soul, owner Nicole Russo needed someone behind the front desk who could work the studio’s CRM (yes, Mind Body is a CRM) and look for opportunities to help us grow our relationships with clients. In fact, the position was titled “Inside Sales.” Perfect! My job involved helping manage all aspects of our relationships with clients. Here are a few things I learned:
- Yes, sales is HARD. As a marketer, of course you have deadline pressures; but you can also sometimes work in your pajamas. If you are customer-facing, you are always “on.” At Skin To Soul, our clients’ healing experience starts the first time they contact us; in sales, you are ultimately responsible for guiding your customers’ experience. If you’re a marketer, having empathy for your sales team will greatly improve your relationships with them.
- “Up-sell” is NOT a dirty word – as long as you sincerely believe in the value of what you’re selling. Product marketers take note — your first customer is your sales team.
- The OFFER matters. Most healing practitioners have incentives for membership, multiple appointments, etc. that offer real value to their customers. Although my shyness made it difficult to speak to clients about our offers, clients found it easy to accept them because they were good offers.
- Having a SYSTEM makes your next conversation easy. Often I would write a note on a client’s next appointment such as “Remember to say thank-you for allowing us to reschedule their last visit.” If you’re a marketer, the description on the leads that come into your CRM can guide your sales team on their next conversation with the customer. There’s nothing that paralyzes a sales manager like a lead with no reason.
- You’ve got to ASK FOR THE SALE. My friends and colleagues don’t believe it, but I’m rather shy. Asking someone if they would like to join our membership program was really difficult for me at first. It got easier as I realized our clients enjoyed speaking with me. I was able to develop a fun “script” for myself, and realized that in most cases the worst thing that can happen is you don’t get the sale (which is exactly the same thing that happens if you don’t ask for the sale). Nicole said I was a “natural.” As a marketer, you should be thinking about steps along the customer journey where you (or your sales team) can “ask for the sale.”
I ended my employment at Skin To Soul last week, having learned and contributed everything I could for the time being . . . but I can’t end this blog post without sincerely recommending Skin To Soul to anyone who needs (or wants) bodywork. Learn more or book your first session here: Skin To Soul.