You Must Sweat the Small Stuff
As a Sales Professional, I love to cheer wins. I love to cheer new partnerships. I love when you can feel accomplishment for finding alignment and helping businesses or people out. However, I personally look at every new client I help bring on board very differently than others in the organization.
See, I’m in the trenches everyday. If you’re in Sales then you know what I am speaking of. Executives often look at numbers and metrics and the “wins” are short-lived in the “what have you done for me lately” world of sales. That’s fine. I get it. No issues whatsoever about it. But for my fellow Sales folks, it’s extremely important to analyze and digest the accomplishment. Understanding what happened in that entire sales cycle will help accelerate other deals and set you apart from the rest.
Many of you may have heard this statistic…80% of Sales are made on the 5th-12th contact with a prospect. That’s all well and good but I don’t focus on the number of contacts but the meaning behind each of those interactions. Have you put thought into that when looking back at your wins (and losses)?
Let me explain. Think of the last client you helped bring on board to your company. Now, unless you totally backed into that deal (which happens), there were probably a series of phone calls, emails, web meetings, etc. from the 1st time you ever spoke to that person until the deal was signed. (Heck, there may be even touches prior to you talking to them that got them engaged in the first place). What were those small things that happened to keep the client engaged, or let them know you were listening to their needs, or that you could help them? If you were just lobbing over useless crap then you probably wouldn’t have won that partnership now would you?
There is no “playbook” of the exact things to say or do at certain times. I don’t like books that tell you to say this exact line or that exact phrase or do this particular action and BOOM..a sale. Nope, that’s complete BS. It’s BS because every opportunity and every sale is totally different. We are dealing with human beings not robots. Different people, company size, urgency, everything!!! The way I write a follow-up creative email or call at the right time comes down to that specific client and comes down to who I am as a person. The phrasing/wording/delivery is my own. It can’t be replicated nor should it. So, if there isn’t an exact playbook for when to do things then what is there? Well, I think I’ve identified four key characteristics or mindsets, if you will, that can be very helpful when speaking or responding to a client. These are so simple you are going to fall out of your chair. If you’re conscience of these at all times then you are always laying everything on the line and being the best form of yourself for the client.
- Be Yourself: People like people who don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself and let that be the standard you sell by. If you’re corny, be corny. If you’re direct, be direct. If you’re brutally honest, be brutally honest. I’ve found that by being yourself it allows you to never have to “fake it” or remember who you were for that client. I’ve never understood why some people try to be something their not. It comes off fake and can be read very easily by a client. You are not interviewing the client to be your best friend. You are helping them out by understanding their problems and needs and finding a suitable solution. It’s business.
- Be Aware: Awareness can be very powerful. Recognizing where you are at with a client can help you ask the proper questions at the proper time and not miss your window for that information that may be vital in helping you earn that partnership down the road or knowing it is time to cut the cord. Don’t be too assumptive and make sure you hear it from the clients mouth before marking it down in ink. Awareness in sales can help you identify if/when you should follow-up with helpful collateral, call or email, be persistent or lay-off, or know when to stop overselling and ask for the sale.
- Be Curious: It’s okay to ask questions and peel the onion back. If you feel you are not getting a direct answer or simply wanted more depth to understand a certain pain point then ASK! Having a general curiosity around someones business needs, timeline, budget challenges, etc. can go a long way to understand where you are at with a certain client or how you might be able to help them in a different way than you once thought. Plus,(if you’re genuine) most people like that you are taking an interest in what they need and it helps identify if there is deeper alignment between your business and theirs. It’s the little information you pull out by having curiosity that can ultimately lead to a tighter bond and solidifying a partnership.
- Be Empathetic: The more you truly understand your prospects pains and can “walk in their shoes” then you have a wonderful opportunity to bond together and figure out the right solution. It seems that average sales people often try to solve the symptoms while top performers try to solve the root problem. The reason top performers can solve the problem is that they are looking at the solution from a different lens, normally a microscope instead of a mirror.
These are extremely simple and realistic to put into practice tomorrow. Most of you are probably doing these already but being consistent with them can make a big difference. It’s important to ask yourself each day if you are fully investing in all of the above. If you are then you will notice immediate increases in your client relationships and will get to the finish line much quicker. Whether you win or not, well, sometimes that is not always up to you.
I appreciate any comments and hope this has helped some of you out there.