About a month or two ago I had the great pleasure of going to Dallas, TX and seeing David Neagle’s “Break Free” Seminar which is an annual event he does. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing! It was a very informative and well thought out seminar! One of the best I’ve been to in a while. If you get the chance to see David, GO! Don’t think about it, just go. It’s worth every penny!
Besides the several epiphanies and revelations I gained during my 3 day experience there, I also had one resonating comment that applied directly to all sales people. And it came when David was talking about the principles of successful sales. He said, and I quote “Sales is not something you do “to” someone, but “for” someone”.
Imagine if we genuinely faced all our sales calls with this thought in mind? I know, many say they already do, but do they really? I mean, there has to be a moment where we’re sincerely honest with ourselves. After all this is just a post online, not an actual in person visit. So you don’t have to convince me of your answer, you have to genuinely convince you. So if you say you already do, then either, you’re absolutely telling the truth, and your results show it, or you’re lying to yourself. Hopefully, you have great results!
I remember the very first call I went on where I was absolutely going to be very aware of my state of mind while dealing with a client. I had told myself I would do everything in accordance to their best interest, regardless of what the outcome was. Little did I know how much of a test that would turn out to be.
The deal was a very large one, and the client a very stern man. But, a promise to myself is just that. I wasn’t about to break it now. I was even amazed at myself when I realized just how much I was able to help him. More because I was genuinely listening now, and not just listening for the key words to strike a close, or one up the competition based upon a need he mentioned.
I actually felt like I was one of his employees, and was involved in the actual process of helping find the best deal. The stern man become very relaxed, actually quite friendly and he poured out all the details like water. Something I usually had to fight very hard to withdraw from a client. And by the end of that meeting, there were two very distinct things.
One, I had found an amazing faith in selling as a TRUE consultant. And two, in keeping with my own promise, I had to tell that very large client that we were not the right fit for his needs. MAN was that a painful, yet truthful sentence to utter.
Here’s the part where I bet you think I give you the happily ever after version. Right? He comes back to me later and buys. Nope, didn’t happen that way. The true solution, was just that, a true solution.
However, over the next 3 years I ended up receiving 7 other calls from people he knew in other companies. He had told them that I couldn’t be beat for my professional knowledge, and that if they genuinely wanted to know the “right” solution, they would call me first. I ended up keeping 6 of the 7 clients, and sending the other one to the same account I’d sent the original big client.
Then the funniest thing happened! The competitive sales rep, from the larger company, called me and wanted to have lunch. He thanked me for the 2 big deals I sent him, and then told me, that his conscience couldn’t let him handle a few clients he had, because they just weren’t the right fit. And he was impressed with the absolute clarity I had shown in being a genuine consultant.
His main concern was that they were attached to a very large enterprise that he dealt with and had to make darn sure they were handled well. Knowing I had given up clients because I wasn’t the right fit was all he needed for proof they would be taken care of.
He and I went on to exchange about 7 accounts on my side, and around 18 on his. So, do you think it ends there? You’re right, it didn’t. That same type of character ended up landing me about 35 to 40 agents in respectable fields closely related to me, or directly related to me, where we properly exchanged clients as were suited to our strengths. One of the many reasons I left an industry where the average sales person sold 6 to 8 units, and I was averaging 25 to 30.
Many will say, yeah, that may work in your industry, but not ours. For the record, I have sold in about 12 industries, and 14 different states. From very large cities like: Denver, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Washington DC to small rural areas like Anniston, AL, Rapid City South Dakota and Emporia, KS. And I’m here to tell you, that it does work. it just takes you trying it.
What do you have to lose? Just one account. Start today, and I promise you, that one account, will show you a new path which can take you to far more places than you could ever imagine.