Sales reps have a lot to contend with. They need to crush their quotas. They need to advance their careers. They need to convince prospects to speak with them, and ultimately to buy.
These three goals -- stellar individual performance, career development, and successful sales -- are all admirable. But reps who think about their goals in the terms outlined above are thinking about the profession all wrong.
That’s because these three goals place the salesperson at the center of the equation. It’s all about how the rep makes quota, how the rep can be promoted, and how the rep can get people to buy.
Listen up, salespeople -- sales isn’t about you anymore. It’s about the buyer.
Start thinking, “How can I help this prospect?” and stop asking yourself, “How many more deals do I need to win this month?”
This isn’t to say sales performance doesn’t matter. It absolutely does, and it always will. But to be truly successful, you have to transform your entire approach to sales.
If you start thinking about sales this way, everything else -- promotions, quota achievement, and maybe even a ticket to President’s Club -- will follow.
That’s because approaching sales through the lens of helping ultimately makes it easier.
Helping transforms how you qualify prospects.
Do they truly need your help, or are you trying to manufacture business pain that isn’t there to get them to take your call? If you prospect by identifying potential buyers who are actually suffering business pain instead of cold calling the decision makers with the deepest pockets, you’ll be able to establish relationships from a place of trust, not annoyance.
Helping transforms how you run discovery calls.
If you’re genuinely trying to uncover business pain instead of figuring out how you can squeeze money out of your prospects, the conversation will naturally be about your prospect. They’ll tell you about what keeps them up at night, what they’re trying to achieve, and where they’ve failed before. You’ll be able to give them better recommendations, better advice, and increase your chances for a second call because you listened and tried to help.
Helping transforms the way you demonstrate your product.
If you design the presentation with helping in mind, it’ll be immediately obvious you’re putting the prospects’ needs first because you won’t be touting some magic, universal benefit. You’ll be walking your prospect through an incredibly personalized, tailored plan that shows how your product will help them achieve their specific goals that you’ve already discussed.
In short, helping changes your entire outlook on sales. If you don’t waste your time trying to convince prospects you can’t help that they should buy your product, your effort goes toward deals with prospects who genuinely need and want your help. If you only spend time speaking to prospects who are hurting, you’ll close more deals. Your improved sales performance will better position you for a promotion.
See what I’m getting at here? If you place the buyer at the center of your world, all those things you care about (and rightly so) will fall into place. If you help buyers, you end up helping yourself.
That’s because sales isn’t about you anymore -- it’s about your prospect. There has been a revolutionary shift in power between buyers and sellers, and reps who are unable to adapt will find themselves phased out of the profession. You’re no longer the sole keeper of information or even the only reliable voice of truth. Your prospects are perfectly self-sufficient and can find out most of what they need to know themselves.
But prospects still need you. They still need experts to synthesize all the information they’ve gathered themselves into a coherent strategy that’s applicable to their business. They still need advisors who have seen their problems before help them formulate an attack plan to solve them.
What prospects don’t need are old-school, pushy, transactional salespeople. They don’t need to be sold a product -- they want to buy a solution. And the sooner salespeople realize that and adapt accordingly, the better sales becomes for buyers and sellers everywhere.
Originally published Feb 29, 2016 6:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017