Caring is the desire to achieve a positive outcome for someone else. In sales, that someone is your prospect or clients.
This is not a touchy-feely, emotional kind of caring (although we often have deep relationships with our customers that result in life-long friendships). This caring is action-oriented; it is felt by your actions and your behaviors.
The activities that make up being action-oriented are listed in the following five points. Understanding that is action, not words, which demonstrates that you care is step one.
2. The Big Things: Focus on Their Outcome
The first action you can take to demonstrate your caring is to place your focus and attention on your client’s outcome. These outcomes are the big things, the things that, if changed, would produce transformation and improvements.
Remember, this is action-oriented. This means you ask questions to fully understand the outcome that they need to achieve. You care enough to help them create solutions and action plans that can be executed to achieve that outcome. And then you work with them to take those actions and to help them achieve the outcome that they need.
Make a list of the outcomes you are trying to help your client’s achieve. Then, make a list of all of the actions that you can take that demonstrate to your clients and prospects that you are focused on helping them achieve those outcomes. Looking at the two lists you created; is it clear that your clients should feel that you care about their outcomes? What additional actions could you take to demonstrate that you care about helping them achieve their desired outcome?
3. Consider the Impact
Caring means considering the impact of your actions on others. When you are working with your clients and prospects, the act of caring must spill over to all of their stakeholders. Caring means taking the time to meet with stakeholders to understand their needs as it pertains to your solutions. Caring is action-oriented, and that means listening to their thoughts and their ideas, and working to discover how to ensure your ideas create a positive outcome for them.
Write down all of the actions that are necessary to ensure that you are considering the impact of your solutions on others. Who is affected by what you propose? Who might have their business disrupted or suffer negative consequences by what you propose? Write down the steps you can take to ensure that you minimize or eliminate the negative impacts of what you propose.
Brainstorm ways in which those can be made positive. Can you meet with stakeholders to develop changes that may make what you propose a benefit?
4. Don’t Forget the Little Things
Even though you must focus on the big things, the positive outcomes, you cannot overlook the little things. Businesses are made up of human beings, and the little things often add up to something more. Remembering the little things means remembering all of the common courtesies that demonstrate we care.
Do you remember names even if you don’t need the person to win a deal or to succeed after having won the deal? Do you always thank those who have helped you? Do you send thank you cards to the people you meet and who have shared with you their time and their knowledge?
Make an action plan of all of the little things that you can (must) do that demonstrate that you care. Review this list and make it part of your daily routine!
5. Have a Presence: Be There (especially when the trouble starts)
The most powerful ways to demonstrate that you care is by having a presence. Nothing shows that you care more than your presence, and this is especially true when there is a problem or a challenge.
When the real trouble starts, you are either there or you are not. There is no middle ground. If you are there, side-by-side with your client, the message is that you care and that you are in this thing together. If you are not there, the message is even clearer: you don’t care. Not being there sends the powerful signal to the client that they are alone.
There is no substitution for presence when the trouble starts.
There is no list to make here, no action plan to write. When the call comes in that the fires have started, you have to take that call. And then you have to head towards the smoke as fast as you can. Period.
6. Keep Your Commitments
This nicely warps up all of the ideas discussed above. Commitments are promises that you make. If you commit to taking some action, you must take that action. If you commit to helping the client achieve a certain outcome, you must take the actions that result in that commitment being kept. If you committed to ensuring that the stakeholders in your solution would be better served, then you have to ensure that this commitment is kept. And most important, if you committed to being there when your client or prospect runs into trouble, you had better be there.
But don’t limit yourself to keeping major commitments. Keep your minor commitments, as well. If you promise to call, make the call. If you promise to send something, send it. If you promise to make an introduction, make it. These things may seem minor, but they demonstrate that you care.
Keep a master list of the commitments that you make. If they are date-specific, keep them on your calendar. If they are not, keep them someplace where you can refer to them each day so that you will not overlook any commitments great or small.
Sales is about creating positive outcomes for others. In order to create these positive outcomes for others, the salesperson has to have both the desire and the ability to do so. Take these actions to demonstrate that you care!
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