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Meetings Industry Sales Reps Who Still Believe in Santa

Santa Clause
This ISN'T an April Fool's post.  In a recent e-newsletter I wrote about a hotel sales manager who was looking to buy a list from us.

He was looking to organize a lunch in the Toronto area, and he wanted to have 50-100 new qualified meeting planners so he could “educate them” (his words, not mine) about his company’s wonderful hotels.

I used to think it was just hotel, CVB and other meetings industry suppliers who are looking for the "perfect" list, when I came across a blog by marketing consultant Dawn Westerberg who wrote B2B Marketing – Finally An Email List Of People Who Are Ready To Buy!  I guess it’s not just hospitality sales reps who are guilty of this mindset. There are more B2B salespeople who think this way too.

If there was a silver bullet, I’m sure someone would have found it by now.  The harsh reality is that sales is hard work.  So why do sales reps insist on looking for the “perfect list” like spoiled 4th-graders clinging to the belief in Santa Claus?

Here are some thoughts.  Perhaps:

·     It's easier to hunt for the “perfect list” than it is to cleanse a database and re-qualify dormant accounts.
·     It's easier to search for the “perfect list” than to execute a lead generation program . Yes good, old-fashioned, picking-up-the-phone-and-calling-prospects to see if there is a possibility of doing business.
·     It's easier to dream of the “perfect list” than to build a lead nurturing program and relationships with prospects. To come up with meaningful information that helps prospects do a better job, creates value and trust.
·     It's easier to shop for the “perfect list” than to create a system that will gradually attract one; an inbound marketing system that uses strategic search engine optimization, content development and social media to drive inbound traffic and capture interested prospects.
·     It's easier to look for the “perfect list” than it is to research one. Online list building is not a mysterious function that requires a special skill. But it does take time and dedication. The payoff though can be sizable.

Sorry if the above sounds like a tirade.  But I’ve had it with people who want to take the easy way out. Building long-lasting relationships with meeting and event planners is hard work.  It takes research, persistence, and a genuine willingness to help. To top it off, you have to be organized and have a systems-oriented mindset.   Anything less is like believing in Santa Claus…