After closing a sales conference this week, one of the audience members approached me to ask about a sale they had lost. The sale had failed because the salesperson had never been treated as an equal by the client and was never really in the running.
Many things had not gone perfectly…
- Prior to the sales presentation the client had refused to answer any questions.
- The presentation was at 9am in the morning 200 miles away from the office of the sales team.
- The client was running late on the day and kept them waiting for half an hour with only a scant apology.
- The client’s team who attended the presentation deliberately refused to make any polite chat, refused to engage like normal human beings, were overtly rude and refused to answer any questions.
- No feedback was given or promised.
- The sales team had no idea who they were “competing” against nor the criteria by which they were being judged…
Far too many clients think that the way to conduct sales meetings and presentations is to treat your potential business “partners” as dancing puppets where all they have to do is tweak the string and you do the jig. And far too many sales teams accept this course of affairs as just the way things are.
Once you are out of position it is difficult to get back into position and it is unlikely you will repair the mismatch. Once you devalue your offering, you will struggle to create the value or the relationships that you need to build the business that you want.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If you want partnership relationships with clients who believe in you and appreciate the value that you add, if you want to be paid commensurate with the work you do, if you want sustainability, satisfaction and success then you have to get your positioning right and this has to be done right from the start of your relationship.
Here are 6 strategies to get you started…
1. Define your clients. Who are they? Why do they work with you? How do you add value for them?
2. Position yourself as an expert. Create a brand and a name for yourself that attracts clients to you because of what you can do for them. Clients come to me because of what I do not because I am just another sales speaker.
3. Keep your engines running. Far too many salespeople take their feet off the gas when they have “enough” business and their sales activities career to a grinding halt. Lack of opportunities can create desperation and desperation makes it hard to not start playing the fiddle furiously whenever anyone instructs you to dance a jig.
4. Get familiar with the word “No”… saying it and hearing it. If you are in the wrong place, with the wrong client or pursuing the wrong opportunity and you cannot do anything about it, “No” can be the most liberating, time saving and sales boosting option.
5. Build huge value. It’s easy for clients to treat salespeople as “all the same” if they are pretty much interchangeable. Whilst technology and transparency may have made products and approaches pretty much interchangeable, your expertise, your personal approach and the value that you deliver is not.
6. Be honest. Many sales and business people have long wooden noses when it comes to not admitting that they are dancing like puppets on a string. Without honesty about your current relationships and your current situation, how can you improve it?
Start now by having a think about the relationships you have, where they’re at, how you can add more value to them and what you need to do to be seen as more equal than your competitors in the future.
By Gavin Ingham, speaker on mental toughness for sales and business people. He is the author of several books including “Motivate People”. If you want to know more about creating the mindset of a sales rockstar then make sure that you have joined his free newsletter. Copyright 2015.