If I had to re-title this post I’d call it, “Sales Success: Focus On The Long Game!”
And, that, in a nutshell, is why I don’t play Poker…
When it comes to sales and business development you can break the players down into two camps.
In Camp 1, you have the transactional business people. They are laser focused on today’s sale and today’s dollar. They believe that if they don’t separate their prospect from their cast RIGHT NOW or if their prospect isn’t in a buying position today that they will fail out of business and starve to death.
It is POSSIBLE that I am exaggerating for effect 🙂
What are the hallmarks (would symptoms be a better word?) of someone afflicted with TRANSACTION-ITIS?
- They watch the sales-movie-classic Glengarry Glen Ross as sales training (I am tempted to launch into a rant about Hollywood’s depiction of business in film but I am going to demonstrate restraint and let the moment pass)
- They STILL believe ABC (Always Be Closing) is an effective sales approach (Hello, 1970 is calling…)
- Their presentations and sales dialogue is focused on their company/product/service/theselves, NOT the prospect’s wants and needs
- They maintain control during prospecting dialogue (cold calls, initial conversations, etc.) instead of allowing the prospect to add input
- They hold their prospects and customers in contempt, feeling that they don’t understand their own needs
- They prefer MONOLOGUE to DIALOGUE as it more easily allows them to maintain control of the conversation
In camp 2 you have the Entrepreneurs and Salespeople who understand that they can create long-term revenue streams by investing the time and energy to develop a successful business relationship, a partnership, with their prospects. Moving them from prospect to customer and from customer to “Community.” I talk about this in some detail in this Podcast Episode. What are the characteristics of this camp:
- They strive to attain “Trusted Advisor” or “Industry Partner” status with their prospect
- They are seeking, and constantly working towards, an equal status with their prospects and customers. Not above or below, but equal
- They focus on customer-centric DIALOGUE not feature/benefit laden MONOLOGUE
- They acknowledge that their prospect may not (statistically is PROBABLY not) ready to purchase today and they are prepared for this by having a systematic lead nurturing program to constantly add value to that prospect until they are in a buying position
- Understanding that they will be involved with this prospect/customer for a long time they focus on the relationship and ensuring that it is strong. They invest the time to develop and nurture that business relationship
- PROTIP: ALL long-term business relationships are built on two things: TRUST & SUCCESS
- They aren’t afraid to give the prospect control during conversations. Letting them know that they can end the call or contact at any time (Paradoxically, the more in control a prospect feels the LESS likely they are to END a call, as they don’t feel pressured)
- They understand that dealing with client and prospect objections isn’t about “forcing” or “pushing” them in a direction. It is ENTIRELY about understanding what is holding that prospect back and either offering them additional information to come to a different decision OR uncovering the question they need answered in order to move forward
- They understand that sometimes it is better to strategically leave money on the table than to squeeze every bit of currency out of the individual transaction that they can
You can shear a sheep many times but only skin it once!
Now, it is possible that you are detecting my position on which Camp I recommend that you put your tent in. But, just in case you are missing it: JOIN CAMP 2!!!
Too many sales Entrepreneurs are overly fixated on the, “short game,” and allow themselves to get trapped in today’s money instead of true success by focusing on the long game where they can make a real difference and contribution. That short-sightedness robs them of long-term, profitable relationships that can give them the kind of sustainable and scalable revenue streams that they can build their businesses on.
Please don’t misunderstand, I know that revenue rules the roost (especially in Start-ups and early cycle businesses) but it is critical that we keep an eye on tomorrow. It isn’t a matter of “sacrificing today for tomorrow.” It IS a matter of ensuring that we are doing what is right for our customer AND ourselves (Think Win/Win ~ As always, Thank you for your 7-Habits Mr. Covey!).
Keeping this philosophy front of mind, I acknowledge fully that there is a time to “close” but if you are focusing on your sales process and adding value consistently to your interactions with your audience then the “close” comes as a natural byproduct of those things. It doesn’t need to be forced. Finessed yes, but not forced! 😉
Does that make sense? -If not then let’s talk about it in the comments below!
That brings us to this week’s challenge:
- Knowing that we are likely to find our prospect well before they are ready to buy or move forward with us create a systematic lead-nurturing program/plan that allows you to (again SYSTEMATICALLY!) keep in contact with your prospects/audience in a way that will add value to them and help to develop the nascent relationship into one of equals where they view you as a trusted advisor or an industry partner.
As always, thank you for stopping by!
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