Scaling the Customer Relationship

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Aren’t you tired? 

Tired of the way sales has been done over the last several decades? Tired of the endless pressure management puts on you to meet some arbitrary number that you had very little input into? Tired of the cheesy sales tactics employed by and mandated by many companies today, sales tactics that put revenue creation over value delivery? Tired of having your job boiled down to just one thing? Tired of incompetent management that has not the first clue about what you actually do to deliver the number they mandate?

Sales is the only profession I know of where you can go from hero to villain simply by the changing of the quarter.

If you work for one of these companies you know what I am on about. You got into sales because it is your calling, you want to foster long term relationship with clients and you actually care about the outcome and results of what you are selling. Yet your desire and calling does not always mesh well with the agenda senior management has related to revenue generation.

What Happened to Value?

You see this regularly in major public companies where the shareholder is front and center. You know your executives have a quarterly revenue call with shareholders and there will be hell to pay if the numbers are not what is expected. The worst part is the very short sighted tactical decisions that are made as a result of these earnings report calls. Management changes tactics and creates a whole host of new unproductive methods to raise the numbers for the next call that is only three months away.

The word value is lost in this mad rush to push the numbers higher.  The only conversation happening in the halls of power is how to extract more precious cash out of their unexpecting victims….I mean customers. Rarely do the these companies ask the question “Are we delivering value for clients and how can we do better?”

Asking the wrong question

Many senior leaders of companies consistently ask the wrong question. The focus is on driving more revenue when the focus should be on driving more value. The funny thing about true value delivery is the revenue follows. The conversation should be focused on how  you can deliver more value and take the relationship from simply supplier to trusted irreplaceable partner. 

This starts with empathy. 

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Other ways to describe empathy are affinity with, rapport with, understanding of, awareness of, fellowship with etc. Put simply, when you put the needs of another in front of your own.

The most successful salespeople across all industries connect with their clients in a meaningful way and truly have empathy for the customer needs and desires. When the focus becomes how can we solve this problem in a robust way the relationship shifts from vendor to true business partner. Smart salespeople understand that people buy from who they connect with. This deep connection is what drives real value (And Revenue) over time. 

Have a conversation with your Clients.

If you have ever been labeled as Salesy then you are doing it wrong. Instead of making sure your presentation is perfect and saying all of the right words, try having a simple conversation with your clients. Ask probing and conversational questions and truly listen to the answer.

Most salespeople are focused solely on what they will say next and miss the opportunity to have a real meaningful conversation. Its through these deeper conversations that you learn much more than you would have by focusing on trying to convince your customer they need your product or service.

You will see a change in your meetings and relationships

Every salesperson would love for their clients to be completely open at all times, be willing to introduce them around the company and help pave the way for new deals. I can promise you this will never happen if you do not have empathy for your clients and are not focused on delivering value.

It’s not about the volume of clients you have but the value of the clients you have. Solution salespeople need to understand that farming a large account requires constant value delivery and an understanding that the better you serve the more you get to serve. 

When you take the time to have a real conversation with your clients you will see them bring you behind the curtain much sooner and your meeting will take on new life. Customers are not stupid, they can see right through your cheesy sales tactics and recognize when you are trying to use leverage to get them to buy.

Revenue follows value:

Smart solution salespeople understand delivering value is the pathway to longterm revenue gains and success. It is very interesting to track revenue growth across key accounts when you are focused on delivering value. Building account momentum becomes much easier and the deals begin to flow when the customer realizes you are there to serve and not to simply take.

Ignore your quota

This may seems like advice that will ruin your career, actually the opposite is true. When you are solely focused on just delivering an arbitrary sales number the harder and harder it will get to meet the number. You get so focused on just the numbers that you begin to treat your clients like a cash register, a way to meet quota and and obstacle to you making money.

Your clients will begin to not take your calls, loathe meeting with you and only doing business with you when they have to. You can also be sure the relationship ends when you walk out the door. It is at this point where you are most at risk for a competitor to take your business.

When your focus is on value delivery and building relationships based on empathy the revenue delivery will have the forward motion of a freight train. Yes its true it takes a bit to get it moving but once at speed the more power it has.

You might be on the wrong bus:

When you start to change the focus on your sales approach you may quickly realize that you are on the wrong bus. You may come to a quick realization that the company you work for is not interested in delivering value and only on extracting cash from the customers at any cost.

At this point you have a choice to make, do you stay and try to change the system or do you seek out like minded people and begin a new chapter with another firm. 

There will always be legions of slick sales people trying to make their living through creative leverage, cheesy sales tactics and double talk but you do not have to participate.

Find the place where you can truly deliver value and shine, trust me your career and customers will thank you. When you become remarkable your customers will talk about you and the process of generating revenue will get easier, and a lot more fun as well.

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