Do you believe in the perfect sales person? I don’t. But I work with someone who comes pretty darn close. Her nickname is “the queen”. Not because she’s elite – quite the opposite. She takes her job seriously, but not herself. And she exquisitely works with clients and associates – making them all feel glad, yes glad, for the interaction with her. She loves what she does, so she solves versus sells.
Finding that next client or customer is an adventure, or at least it can be if we’re willing to put up with the detours. Sure, there is the theory and then there is the “street smart” practice.
The theory is that managers who create a framework to grow sales use it as a stepping stone to make their business successful. In the Power of 3, Red Book Solutions aptly notes that revenue growth requires three things – customer acquisition, loyalty and profitability.
About getting that next new client, Morton, Higgins and Evans in their book “Building a Successful Selling Organization” suggests the following:
- Set a clear, actionable sales agenda – Have individual ownership and accountability toward new client development.
- Make selling a definable, repeatable, results-oriented process – Understand your “best practices” approach to attracting new customers and standardize the process.
- Be customer-focused – Speak from the client perspective. Neuro Marketing teaches us that ultimately everyone is listening with a filter that “it is all about me”. This is never truer than with a potential client.
- Align with the voice of the customer – Develop relationships and opportunities, not just transactions. Ask, listen, and most importantly, learn.
- Have a conversation about perceived value, not selling – Have a compelling value proposition that aligns with the customer’s expectations. The customer will appreciate your solutions-based orientation versus the hard-sell.
But as important as it is to have a sales framework, some of the most important lessons aren’t taught. Here are some other “street smart” approaches you should consider in order to attract new customers.
Your attitude is important. Stay upbeat no matter what happens. People respond to your positive energy and outlook.
Everyone smiles in the same language. One of the most powerful things you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them.
Take rejection head on. Rejection is a part of the business of selling. Accept it and don’t take it personally. You’ve heard it before – to get the yeses, you must hear the nos.
You don’t always win. Handling disappointment and adversity is a mark of performance. Achievers focus on the next part of the adventure, not the detours.
I am reminded of a story from Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group who said, “My mother always taught me never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me… A setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”
I believe “the queen” would concur, smiling all the way!
By, Debra Koenig, President of B2A Consulting | 30 years of experience as a business executive with leadership and consulting skills in Fortune 500 and private equity portfolio companies.