Being a consultative salesperson and a trusted advisor requires you to be proactive. Being proactive creates greater trust, destroys latent dissatisfaction, and moves you to a higher level of value creation as a salesperson. Here are five actions you can take to be proactive now.
Lead Your Clients: If you wait for your clients (or dream clients) to raise their hand and tell you they need your help, you aren’t leading. One of the reasons there is so much latent dissatisfaction (read lack of pain) is that most of your prospects don’t know how dissatisfied they should be. They count on smart, business savvy salespeople to keep them informed on what is happening in their industry and what is possible. Some of the ways you create value is by leading your client, by showing them the performance they are capable of, by helping them identify and close gaps, and by helping them build the case for change.
Share Solutions: We are taught not to prescribe before we diagnose. This approach is always right, except when it isn’t. In some cases, being proactive means you have to present a solution before your client agrees they have a problem, and before they are willing to work on that problem. Sometimes it can take months or years to gain agreement around a change. But your job is to be proactive, and being proactive means showing your clients the biggest, best, most value creating solution possible, even if they aren’t ready to change, and even if they can’t swallow the whole thing in one bite.
Be Resourceful: The trick to being proactive is to move from quarter to quarter with new ideas and new initiatives. The trick is to never grow complacent, to never run out of “what’s next.” Being proactive means you have to come up with new ideas and new applications. It means you have to transport ideas from one industry to another, and you need to figure out how to port them over. You need to work with your team to answer the question, “How do we create the next level of value for this client?” New ideas make you a resource. No ideas makes you a liability.
Schedule Implementation Meetings: When you sell something, you are accountable for ensuring your client obtains the results. One of the best ways you can make this happen is to schedule and lead implementation meetings to ensure that you handoff the operations piece of what you sell to the team who will deliver those results. There is no reason to wait until you have challenges—and you will have challenges—to work through the known issues and the likely challenges. Being proactive in handing off relationships and responsibilities makes it easier to overcome the problems, challenges, and roadblocks.
Schedule Quarterly Business Reviews: First, proactively take credit for the good work you have done. Too many salespeople and sales organizations fail to take credit for the 98.2% of what went right and focus on the 1.8% that went wrong. Second, resolve the outstanding issues that make up that 1.8%. Then, present your ideas to improve over the next quarter. If you are going to be collaborative, then ask your client to share with you the changes they believe you need to make over the next quarter. You may be doing excellent work, but dissatisfaction finds it’s way into your client’s company when complacency finds its way into yours. Make being proactive a process.
What one thing, if implemented now, would radically help your client or prospect improve their results?
How many ideas do you have that would radically improve your client’s performance? How can you develop even more ideas and initiatives?
How do you head off common problems and challenges before they occur?
What formal process for being proactive do you have in place now?