Mark Cox on the value of building lasting online relationships: “never try to hard sell something!”
A company is lost without strong leadership and vision, but it’s our dedicated employees that make Rioned thrive every day. This time Nicoline interviewed Mark Cox (35), UK Sales Manager for Rioned UK on building strong relationships, B2B lead generation and how he uses social media to achieve those goals.
N: What brought you to Rioned?
M: I have spent most of my working career in logistics. There was a job advertised for a storeman at Rioned UK, so I applied on deadline day. I’ll be honest I was bored just packing parcels. I taught myself about the machines so I could offer advice to our customers. This way we built the aftersales department and the rest is history! I’m celebrating my 8th work anniversary this September.
N: What are your most important tasks?
M: My task is to deliver what the customer wants and making sure we meet - and exceed - their expectations.
N: How do you stay successful as a sales professional, if you could pick one thing, what would it be?
M: I don’t see myself as a ‘sales’ person. I grew up with the company and understand what makes our industry tick, and what our customers need. I’m there to guide them through the process and make sure that the equipment they buy is exactly what they expect. The real work starts once the jetter is installed.
N: How do you build strong relations with your prospects?
M: Having a very solid technical knowledge often goes a long way to reassure the customer that I know what I’m talking about. I like to have a knowledge of the whole industry from sewer rehab to cctv surveys and everything in between. This way I can relate to what our customers want and expect. A colleague and dear friend who is no longer with us said to me ‘if you can go to any company in the country and get offered a cup of tea you’re doing your job right.’ This has stuck with me ever since. Solid customer relationships is what I strive. I class a lot of my customers as friends. They invite me to weddings and social events, so I guess the feeling is mutual.
N : Why do clients like to work with you?
M: I’m very customer focused and approachable. The industry is full of ‘real’ people and I absolutely love the pace and banter that we have. There once was a narrow minded view that a ‘sales’ person should be banging on doors and do the whole cold calling thing, but nowadays this is seen as intrusive and often works counter productive.
N: What's your most memorable sale?
M: I think my first one. I remember when I first expressed an interest in moving into sales the company wasn’t sure I was the right person for that role. When I sold my first jetter shortly after, it felt great - and the rest is history! To me every sale is special as the industry is very competitive in the UK in terms of price. When a jetter is sold, that customer has often saved up a lot of money to invest in our equipment. Their reaction when they start using it is priceless and makes the long hours and travelling worthwhile.
N: How do you use social media to find prospects?
M: I’m a huge fan of social media and I use all forms to get our message across. Linkedin is a great platform for ‘business to business’ (B2B) ‘social’ selling. It provides the opportunity to share ideas with customers and potential customers 24/7. You can build relationships with multiple people at the same time.
N: Which platforms do you use most and why?
M: Linkedin is pretty much the most used B2B social media platform. I use twitter but only for snapshots and brief bits of info. Personally I use Facebook mostly to interact in some groups with people from the industry, but never in a sales capacity. I listen and join the conversations and offer help if I can.
N: Can you give a tip to sales reps that are starting out on social media?
M: Sure! The most important advice is:”don’t try to sell anything!” With the rise in social media and the internet, information is readily available 24/7. By just having a positive presence, be it by writing posts, sharing pictures, interacting with customers or offering advice, your profile will get viewed. Make sure you are approachable and credible. People will see you as an expert in your field and leads will come your way!
N: Can you give an example of a sale that happened because of social media?
M: Over the last few years, since I stopped cold calling and started social selling, there have been many sales linked to social media. The first one was the most special.I tweeted pictures of installs I had done when I was fixing and fitting jetters, a customer saw these and tweeted back asking for info. After a few weeks he ordered it! Proving to me that social selling was the way forward!
N: What future online possibilities do you see that we're not harvesting at this moment?
M: I think we are missing out by not having an ecommerce site. I have been involved in online shops with previous companies and they are the backbone of their turnover. Done properly they have a low overhead and they’re open 24/7. Our industry is 24/7 so we need to be too!
Follow Mark is on Twitter as @RionedUKLtd
We thank Mark for his hard work and for sharing his story. It’s great to see how customers usually refer to him as buddy, proving that something that he’s doing is working. Keep on going Mark!