Learnings: 3 years into being a data advocate

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The purpose of this blog is to share the insights and revelations I’ve gained about the sales approach and process over the last 3+ years in the domain name industry.

I’ve worked in the domain name industry for 17+ years. Over this time, I have worked for multiple companies and touched each part of the lifecycle in one way or another, and through this, I have come to truly understand the importance of working with a purpose. I am truly grateful I can wake up every day with the drive to make a difference. I currently work with Dataprovider.com, and I value this team of people who work honestly, with integrity, and who are truly looking to provide value to clients with a groundbreaking product that leads to a trusted partnership and growth for both. I started in the industry as a Domain Name Attorney, and I grew to love learning about domain names and had ample opportunity to do so through all the great companies I worked for over time. The knowledge gained along the way is invaluable, and I didn’t know how much my learnings would become the basis for which I advocate for the value of data to current and potential clients. I realize that at the end of the day it all boils down to the individual’s makeup as the advocate of a solution, and as a receiver of the information being shared.

Those who do not know me in the industry could mistake my passion for a sales-y approach. I do not take offense, and there are many who relate to my passion and correctly interpret it as such.  I am a mission-driven individual, with the intent to treat all equally. I work to understand how the person I am speaking with processes and relates to information, to explore ways to get to the point where the logic is understood, creating a sense of comfort in our communication.  I am relentless in explaining, guiding, and proving the value of our data, and the reward is in the “a-ha” moment when the person I am communicating with sees what I see and really gets it.  The emotional connection with the buyer is rarely present in the current corporate structure sales set up, and I see this as a missed opportunity. Then again, sales representatives are rarely authentically passionate about the products and /or services they sell – which makes it harder to connect with a potential buyer. Thankfully, this is not an issue I face.

Admittedly, it baffles me when I approach companies with an opportunity to learn about and explore our product, and receive responses that there is no need for the data – without having looked at the service – and no responses to my requests to understand the reason (timing, in-house capabilities, budget etc…).  When vendors say there is no demand for such and such data, and I am pretty sure their clients would beg to differ if they knew about all the data available to them. I’m left wondering how these decision makers are supposedly subject matter experts who are sought after by CEO’s of companies and paid substantial sums of money to provide strategic direction. It is frustrating to see companies, who pride themselves on hiring the best talent, put people in roles where the job title is not always befitting the person’s capabilities and understanding of critical information to make well-informed decisions. It is even more frustrating to see that there is no sense of curiosity, in these same ill placed people, to explore information for the good of the company they represent.  Even worse, is the sense of entitlement and arrogance often displayed when these people consider themselves an elite minority because they happen to be employed by a well-known company. Newsflash: If you don’t own the company, you are an employee – so the job may be yours today, there are no guarantees it is yours tomorrow. The way you conduct yourself with anyone, internally or externally, is the experience you give to the other person and it speaks to your integrity and credibility.

I watched the movie “Car Dogs” last weekend, and it occurred to me how important it is to align your professional identity with a company that shares the same ideas and values. There is a long-term gain in that with a client and potential client, and people can easily tell if there is alignment within the organization.

I personally do not believe my role is to win clients over with expensive dinners, or to be hers/his best friend, but to respectfully treat them as intelligent human beings and explain the logic behind our product, the data we index, the value to them, and an opportunity to test at no cost. Also, to make myself available throughout the test period so that I can help them have the most fulsome experience and be as well informed as possible. It is important to stay engaged with the client as it’s a partnership at the end of the day, you learn from them as they do from you. You do not let their hand go and hand them off to a login page once an agreement is signed. On the contrary, the “sales” journey has only just begun. The goal is to grow with the client, they are your eyes and ears in the industry you serve, and your goal is to ensure that their experience is good so that they have no hesitation being a referral.

Business is personal to me because my approach is that you treat your client and your competition the way you’d like to be treated. I’m not striving to gain more friends in the industry, but for earned respect which is far more valuable to me. If I gain a friendship as a result, then that just adds to the satisfaction of building a long-term relationship borne from mutual respect and the desire to work with a purpose.

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