Many companies drive sales targets to maximize revenue and profits for each individual sales transaction; driving behaviors which are inconsequential to the outcomes or value of their buyers. These aggressive and unrealistic revenue and profitability targets incent sales professionals to often demonstrate pushy and aggressive behaviors – doing what is best for them, which leads to a negative impression of the sales profession. Many view sales professionals as purely transactional by nature – coin operated. Eat what you kill. Close the deal. ABC – Always Be Closing. Move on to the next conquest.
In spite of this, I’ve found sales success to be a relatively logical formula which is very basic to human nature. The premise of which is to understand the fundamental emotion of buying. Trust. People buy from people whom they trust. Trust is an emotion and the emotional sale should take time and personal connection to develop. Below is a formula on how to create this for professional services business development.
The Emotional Sale Formula
When selling professional services, earning trust is about developing and fostering long-lasting relationships. This will, over time, develop into a loyal professional partnership. I believe it’s about being genuine, honest and transparent at all times; focusing on being true to your word to be entrusted to deliver. When a client engages with a professional services firm, they put their trust into the company and the delivery team they chose. It is incumbent of the services team to deliver in accordance with the agreement to ensure the client’s success. Achieving the client’s success ultimately defines our success.
With many technology projects, things don’t always go as planned. Business requirements change or are not fully defined at the project onset. As the project progresses, changes may be needed or mistakes are made which require unplanned efforts to resolve. My philosophy is we are not judged on the mistakes we make, but rather how we react to them. Building a strong partnership involves working together; managing any and all project challenges to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome.
I’ve encountered clients who harbor a negative impression of salespeople. My goal is to sidestep that objection and work closely with my clients to achieve what is important to their success. Working with me, they begin to realize that not all salespeople are created equal and not all salespeople are transactional.
The sales professional lives and dies by his or her reputation. I evaluate success by reaching positive, repeatable, and reliable outcomes. My son recently asked me why I go out of my way to help someone if they “don’t buy anything from me.” My answer is simply, because I can. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) is not in my vocabulary. It’s not always about personal gain; it’s about working with people to achieve mutual success, and this is achieved by always doing the right thing. It’s this formula which creates an enduring bond of trust and long-term partnerships.
My focus, always, is to achieve the best solution or outcome. Most buyers make buying decisions with emotion and practicality. It is my ultimate goal for my clients to feel comfortable with both me and my colleagues. I am true to my word and trust that my team will deliver. My philosophy incorporates all of these principles executed with honesty and trust as the foundation. For another perspective on this topic, read more about high trust selling here.