I haven’t been “in sales” for long. Believe it or not, my employers and prospects consider this a strength rather than a weakness. What can I say: The numbers don’t lie.
My background in technical consulting has trained me well to succeed in sales. Why? Because I have been trained to look for patterns and determine how to exploit them. It’s not all that hard. Ask why and know how to count.
So here’s a powerful pattern that has presented itself in an overwhelming percentage of sales engagements over the past few months:
Sales greatest opportunity could be overcoming the tarnished reputation of your predecessors.
If you are working in that utopian industry where no one has ever been short-changed by sales, then congratulations; you have arrived. You needn’t bother to read on. Meanwhile, the rest of us will spend an inordinate amount of our days cleaning up the messes of previous reps, or service, or production, or delivery, etc; suffering the taunts of CEOs and middle managers, taking whippings for things we had nothing at all to do with; guilt by association.
I’m beginning to get the feeling that many customers believe that if they just complain loud enough, their prices magically gets lowered. Nevertheless, let’s give people the benefit of the doubt; (I’ve played that card too, whatever works folks!.) Bottom line? a lot of stupid stuff has passed for sales in the past and people are fed up with sloppy service and lousy execution! Read: “big opportunity for you and me.”
Many consumers have adapted to a protective mechanism of mistrusting anything that smacks of sales. If you are willing to take the chance and hope your competitor has not figured this out, then again, don’t bother to read this. However, if you have passed through denial and indifference and joined me in the reality of today’s business climate, business owner, sales person, marketer, here’s an opportunity that you would do well to exploit:
Greet each customer anticipating that their last encounter with someone like you might have been a train wreck.
Why? Because if you are talking with an existing customer, chances are good that they have already heard all the cool things you’ve been given to say. They don’t care. They know they owe money. They don’t care. They have 10 other people calling, trying to sell them “the same thing” and guess what, they don’t care. The only reason they picked up the phone for you was that in some dark corner of their minds they are hoping that maybe, just maybe, you will be different.
- You might actually care if they make money or not.
- You might actually answer their voicemails.
- You could have the right combination of intelligence, work ethic, fortitude and corporate sway to truly make a difference, unlike the last dozen or so guys they took a chance on.
- You might actually make the phone ring again…like the old days.
Those of you who have been in the field a while know the look I’m talking about. Speculation. Skepticism. Barely noticeable hope. It’s not time to sell. It’s not time to pitch products. It’s time to build value and let them know you could care less if they buy from you or not. What you really want is to succeed together and make a boatload of money together. After all, how much is a strong recommendation worth to your pipeline versus a little commission from this one sale?Think about it.
Your Greatest value
Your greatest value to your customers is not your cool products and services. It’s what you bring to the table. It’s that bridge that you become between them and success. Dozens if not hundreds of others have come before you with the same goods and services that you have to offer them, but not everyone cares enough to work their ass off to make sure it works; to make sure they understand how it helps them and make sure they will get their money’s worth out of it. Those of you who are running businesses of your own know exactly what I’m talking about.
There’s no time to talk to yabos.
You need to find the people who truly possess the potential to help you grow your business in leaps and bounds right now in the least messy and disruptive way possible.
Business owner, sales person, marketer: Your greatest opportunity could be overcoming the tarnished reputation of your predecessors and being the kind of person who treats your customer’s problems like your own; proactively investing your precious time and energy into the businesses of others.