July 26, 2019
I’m Here to Sell–Scratch That–Serve You
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People ask from time-to-time what I believe is the best sales and marketing approach to growing a business. In other words, what approach should be taken and what is the best philosophy and processes for attracting new customers and partners. Of course, one must do the expected; lead generation through both marketing and inside sales, branding through advertising, social media, direct marketing, etc. Additionally, the people matter, competent sales executives who are knowledgeable and believe in the company’s purpose, and its products. However, as important as these things are, they are not the most important thing for sustainable growth. The most important thing is putting clients and partners first, and truly serving them and solving their problems.
What is it that the company stands for, what do its founders, leaders, and staff believe?
At a recent interim engagement, we had a saying, “We care about the lives we touch.” This was very much the philosophy we brought to our sales approach. We believed that serving our customers was what allowed us to set ourselves apart and create true partnerships, rather than just being another vendor in our industry. Yes, of course, sales skills are important; product knowledge, presentation, verbal pitching, closing, but there’s more. What matters most, I believe, is really caring about the client and solving their problems. In other words, it’s not about us, or whether we ultimately make the sale, it’s about them. All of this means putting ourselves in a place where we don’t focus on making the sale first. Instead, we are there to understand the client’s issues, be good listeners, and make an honest effort to solve their problem, whether it means acknowledging that our products and services are not a good fit, or suggesting that it might not be the right time for them to make a change.
Being a Resource and Problem Solver
So, how do you stand out from others in a client-facing role? When we’re out selling, let’s try to fight the urge to “sell” at all. We want to be a resource to our clients and prospects, take advantage of the face-time to give them as much free advice as we can. Refer them to third parties that may be able to help with their problems. Do all of it unselfishly. It’s counter-intuitive for those raised in other sales models, but if you make the effort every day, over time it will mean meaningful relationships and prospects/clients returning their loyalty.
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