I was sitting in the conference room when the rep said; “Keenan, I need your help with a deal.”
A common request, one I enjoy hearing. I love helping sales reps. However, it’s not just the desire to help that get’s me fired up, but also the questions reps ask. Salespeople ask some of the most motley of questions. It ceases to amaze me the types of challenges salespeople struggle with, or worse create themselves and are then forced to seek guidance in solving.
This rep was no different.
He leans back in his chair, runs his hands through his hair and says; “I need help getting this client to close earlier. They are doing a software upgrade and don’t want move forward until they complete the upgrade.”
He went on to say, “I want them to close BEFORE the upgrade.”
I asked him why and he said he just wanted to get the deal to close. I pushed him on his why and in the end, he conceded he was focused on his quota and getting the deal done as fast as possible. His motive was simply about him and his needs.
Because he asked for my help, I asked him another question. I asked, “Why should the customer close sooner?” How is it in the customers best interest to close before they finish upgrading the new software?
As expected he was unable to articulate a compelling customer driven reason to close the deal before they finished the upgrade. His reasons to close were all about him and not the customer, and that’s where lesson 2 comes into play.
Most sales people are like this sales rep; they aren’t focused enough on their customers, their buyers or their prospects needs and motives, but instead, are driven by their own selfish needs and wants. Selling this way doesn’t work.
If you want to be a great sales person, if you want to sell better, you have to genuinely give a shit about your customer.
Lesson 2: You Have To Give A Shit
Getting better at sales means giving a shit about your prospect and buyer and not about you. You have to be genuinely driven by what’s important to them, their business, their goals, and their objectives. Giving a shit about your customers and prospects first means not being driven by quota, quarterly goals, shortening sales cycles or any other internal metric. When it comes to selling, you nor your company matter. The fact that you need a deal to make your number doesn’t matter. Your commission check doesn’t matter. Q4 forecast doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except the customer and their needs.
Get better at “getting” the customer:
You wanna get better at selling? Shift your thinking from, what do I want, to what does the customer want. Give a shit about your customer and allow their objectives and goals to drive your sales process, not yours. Allow the solutions to your prospects problems and issues be the force behind your deal strategy, not yours.
To elevate your game, become an expert in your prospect’s world. Know everything you can about what motivates your buyers, what problems they struggle with regularly, what affects their business, what issues and trends they focus on, who they compete with, who their customers are, what affects their market and more.
Your customer exists to serve their customers and their shareholders. Your job as a sales person is to add value to that process. To do that you need to understand how and where your solution can provide the value they require to achieve a better outcome than if you weren’t in the picture. You have to make their world better, and you can’t make their world better if you don’t understand their world. In other words, if you don’t give a shit about them, you can’t get better at selling.
Take a look at your CRM. Go through every deal and review your notes. How much of the note space is dedicated to detailed customer information concerning their issues, challenges, goals, objectives, market, competition, motivations and more? How much of the opportunity record in the CRM is customer-focused information vs. deal side or selling focused information?
If you’re like most sales people, the majority of the information focuses on your next steps to close the deal, emails that auto-populate, and contact details. That’s pretty much it.
In a give a shit world, that’s not enough. You have to go deeper and understand more.
Take the time to put your customer first. Position yourself as an advocate for your customer’s success, not yours. Be seen as an invaluable part of the buying process because you bring more value to them than you do to you. Don’t think about what you’re gonna get out of it, but rather what your customer or prospect is going to get out of it. Don’t think about you, think about them.
When you give a shit about your prospect everything changes. When you stop worrying about your quota, your commission checks, your quarterly number, your revenue when you stop worry about you and start worrying about the customer, everything changes.
If you put the customer first and give a shit, you won’t have to worry about any of that stuff because when you take care of the customer, all that stuff happens in the end. So do yourself a favor and give a shit — everyone wins.
How To Sell Better is an on going series tackling the challenges and issues sales people need to focus on to get better. I don’t know how long the series will be or how many I’ll write, but feel free to check past lessons here.