If you believe you are a vendor, your dream client isn’t going to perceive you as their peer. They’re going to perceive you as transactional, as a commodity. Your dream clients have lots of vendors. The prospect of dealing with another salesperson who doesn’t create enough value to be worth their time doesn’t excite them.
If you believe that your dream client is always right and it is only your job to help them buy what they want to buy without question, you will never be perceived as a peer. A peer would challenge their thinking when it needed challenged. A peer would also make sure that whatever they did together was the biggest value-creating initiative they could dream up.
If you avoid the difficult conversations around what your dream client really needs to do to produce the results they want, then you are something much less than a peer. A peer isn’t afraid to engage in constructive disagreements. They know how to disagree professionally, and they know how to nudge conversations in the right direction, opening their prospective clients to new ideas.
If you are afraid that you will lose your opportunity by bringing other stakeholders into the decision making process, then you are not really in control of the process, you’re not giving your dream client good advice, and you are not a peer. A peer would help them build consensus. They wouldn’t run from the risk only to put their opportunity and their client’s goals at risk of loss to the status quo.
If you are uncomfortable talking about the necessary investment for producing the results your dream client needs, you might be an order-taker, a vendor, or a supplier. But you aren’t someone your dream client can ever count on like they would a peer. If you allow your client to underinvest because you are uncomfortable with your pricing, you don’t believe in your solutions and neither will your dream client. A peer would help them spend the right amount for the right result.
If you don’t have the business acumen and situational knowledge to sit across from your dream client and identify their possible paths forward, the appropriateness of each choice, and trade offs they will have to make based on each choice, you aren’t a peer. If there is information parity between you and your dream client, you aren’t a peer. If they know as much as you because they have the Internet, you’re in seriously deep trouble.
Your dream client isn’t trying to hire a salesperson. They’re trying to hire someone who can help them deal with the challenges they face and capitalize on the opportunities in front of them. They’re looking for a business partner who can give them good counsel and help them execute on the right solutions.
You sell best when you sell as a peer.