The Biggest Lesson For Anyone Selling Anything From A-Rod’s All Star “Snubbing” (and it’s not what you think it is)

It is one of those stories that no one will care about in a week – but for now, sports talk radio in New York cannot get enough of the news that A-Rod was passed over for this year’s All-Star team.

However, there is a big take away from this that most of us actually will care about (and credit to ESPN sports talk radio for making it).

Ned Yost, manager of the AL All-Star Team and the final “snubber,” (fans snubbed him first), was quoted as saying, “we talked about A-Rod a lot” – referring to discussions between he and his staff before choosing another player.  A-Rod never got a chance to make a “final case” – and the implications are relevant to you.  Why?

Because most decisions about you are made when you are not in the room.

In this case, it is basically an employment decision…but unless you are buying a new vacuum cleaner or a time share in Aruba, it also applies to most big buying decisions.  Salespeople can make their pitch but at the end of the day, they will not be at the table when the ultimate decision is made.

And in our industry, nowhere is this more relevant than with institutional investment decisions.  So, what can you do to influence that?

1. Make Their Job Easy

Whether it’s an analyst, a PM or a CIO – you need them to act as ambassadors on your behalf.  They are the ones that will push your fund to the “next level”.  If the CIO walks into an allocation committee meeting and cannot succinctly communicate your Value Proposition, your chances of getting the decision makers to vote in your favor diminishes significantly.

The best way to do this….simplify your messageEven if it matters to your buying decision why Apple chooses a certain baseband processor and the specs of the power amplifier, Apple still sells you on the phone’s ease of use, sleek design and enormous functionality.  People only have so much capacity to remember every nuance.

2. Ask The Question When You Still Have the Opportunity

Do you know why car salesman are taught to push so hard for a commitment while you are standing there?  Because they know that once you leave, the likelihood that they will ever see you again goes down materially.

How often have you left a good meeting with an allocator and then struggled like crazy to get a follow-up meeting?  How about just getting them on the phone again? Either they are just really, really busy or (more likely) they are not interested.

However, if you don’t know what the hesitation is, you will never get a chance to address it.

As we have talked about, no matter how well your meeting went and how many questions they asked and you answered, there is always an obstacle.  It may be you, it may be them…but the obstacle exists.  And you can’t address it if you don’t know what it is.  So…before you leave, make it a point to ask, “What are your remaining concerns that will prevent you from moving forward with this?”  Do it politely.  Do it gracefully.  You will nearly always get an answer.

Of course, one good thing about not being A-Rod…you are much less likely to get snubbed just for being you.

By JD David