Last week I used this space to share several of the leading themes from Write this Down: Memes and Metaphors for a Better Life in Sales, a book that I've begun working on. This week, a few more, including some challenging advice for both managers, individual contributors and their fellow humans from many walks of life.
Management is a patient form of service. If you’re not in it for others, or not for the long haul, get out. There are easier ways to make a living.
Respect is the new friendship. Lose the chumminess and start with a basic respect for your customer's time and needs. You'll both value what happens from there.
Worthiness is a state of grace. A focus on getting and winning isn’t sustainable. Those who focus on deserving – trust, loyalty, investment – operate in a perpetual state of excellence.
As a manager, sometimes you just need to remind people who they are.
Never bring your erstwhile competitors into the room with you. There is only room for the customer, the problem and how you intend to solve it. Give oxygen and light to your competition and you will get the outcome you deserve.
Pay attention to your prepositions. A great sale is not something you do TO a customer. It’s something you build WITH and FOR a customer.
When preparing for an important customer meeting, ask this question: What’s the MOST SPECIFIC thing this customer can DO to advance this deal? Now base all your work on deserving that action and asking for it.
Successful sales calls don’t just end well on their own. You must have an exit strategy – a closing sequence – that is every bit as deliberate and prepared as your presentation or customer research. And you must save the time to execute it.
If you’re holding back on discussing price or dates with your customer – especially price – ask yourself why. Unless you’re drawing lines around cost and calendar, your close is only theoretical. And very soft.
Often the best follow up question isn’t a question at all. It’s an invitation to Tell me more about that…
Solid sales strategy can be boiled down to four steps. Say less. More powerfully. Sooner. To the right people.