Here is a follow up idea from last week’s post on Telling Lies vs. Managing Expectations.
Now more than ever, those of us in sales are responsible not for the product or service we sell as much as we are responsible for the client’s outcome. (This is a topic for another blog post . . . or a book). This is especially true in business-to-business sales. So what do you do when something doesn’t work out well for your client?
There was a time when the outcome wasn’t the salesperson’s concern. In the old days the client’s problem was not the salesperson’s problem (or even their company’s problem); they delivered the product or service and the client was on their own to get the best result or something less than that. Any wonder why it took so long for salespeople to shed the old stereotypes? (well, most of us have shed the old stereotypes, anyway) If you don’t work to ensure your client gets the best result, get used to being treated as a vendor instead of something more.
The old days are, thankfully, over. But being responsible for the client’s outcome has raised the bar on professional salespeople.
When your client has a problem today, you have a problem. Your company has a problem. Your team has a problem. You, as a sales professional, must be available to your client or customer to lead the charge on helping them get a better result. Your clients expect you to be there standing in the trenches with them, dealing with whatever issue prevents them from obtaining the results you envisioned together during the sales process.
Too many salespeople still behave as if their role ends when the deal is signed. Some salespeople make the mistake of waiting to address problems. They wait for more information or to talk to someone on their team. Sometimes they just want time to allow an upset client to cool down. All of these sound like reasonable ideas . . . except to the client who is dealing with the issue and wondering where you are. This is hiding from the problem.
Don’t hide! (problems don’t age well)
Don’t let your client wonder where you are! (you were there when the vision was created, you are part of it)
Your presence will make all of the difference in the world. Even if you don’t yet have the right solution. The fact that you care enough to show up to the problem means the client made the right decision in choosing you. After all, wasn’t that what you sold?