In both the pursuit of your dream client and in serving your clients, you are going to encounter problems. The train will, from time to time, run off the tracks. It’s your job to keep the train on the tracks, and ignoring the problems and hoping they go away isn’t a good long-term plan for succeeding wildly in sales.
Problems Grow (Like Weeds)
The problem with problems is that when they are left alone they tend to grow. A small problem ignored and untreated will tend to get worse over time. In business-to-business sales, the seemingly small problem can cause all kinds of problems when it spreads.
Like weeds, problems spread, and they can eventually overrun your garden. If the problem is small, nip it in the bud now, before it becomes a bigger and more significant problem.
You Don’t Care Enough
Perhaps worse than a problem growing bigger and spreading, is the message that you send—intentionally or not—when you allow the problem to continue. That message is that you don’t care enough to help your client try to get a better outcome. If it’s the outcome that you sold and promised, then your lack of caring is, more than likely, a firing offense.
Some problems, even some relatively small problems, can be difficult to correct. Your absence, or your lack of presence, will be interpreted as you not caring enough to help remedy the problem. Large or small, you must convey that you are aware of problems and that you care enough to do something about them; then you have to take actions that demonstrate that you care.
You Are Stumped
The last thing you need is for your client to believe that you are allowing a problem to continue because you are stumped, because you are clueless as to how to solve it.
Sometimes problems, even small problems, are hard to solve. Even if you don’t know how to resolve them, you active engagement in trying a whole bunch of things will demonstrate that you care, and it will prove that you are taking initiative, and that you are determined to find a way. If you are really good, you will get your client engaged in helping you to figure out the best way to help them, starting two or three levels deep in the organization where lots of great ideas lie hidden or ignored.
Trying is a whole lot better than neglect!
The Problem with Constraints
The most difficult challenge in solving problems for your clients and dream clients is that sometimes the problems exist because there are constraints that are difficult to overcome. Sometimes it is the nature of the beast, it’s the nature of the business that gives rise to problems that are difficult to solve.
Ignoring these problems is neglect. Trying to resolve them is better.
The trouble with ignoring the problems caused by constraints is that, even if your competitors will be saddled with the very same constraints, your dream clients is still dissatisfied, and you know what that leads to, right?
First, you can try to minimize the repercussions that the problem causes. If you can sell the fact that the constraint is the problem, you can then work on other possibilities. Can you make the problem easier to deal with? Can you make it cheaper to deal with? Can you minimize it and make an improvement?
Your second choice is to sell a much bigger change initiative. If you have the relationships, if you have the credibility, and if you have the answers, you can rethink your dream client’s business, eliminating the constraint completely. Never easy, and a subject for another post, I am afraid.
Problems don’t age well. Pull the weeds.
What are the small problems that are sometimes ignored in your business?
What are the problems your industry has in serving your clients that are relatively small, but that cause greater trouble when left untreated?
Why are the seemingly small problems left to grow? What can you do to eliminate them?
What are the problems that you have in executing your solutions that are the result of client-driven constraints? How can you minimize the impact of those constraints?
How can you reimagine what you offer to eliminate the constraints completely?
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Filed under: Sales 3.0