People resist sales. They resist the idea of selling.
Many believe the old, well-deserved, negative connotation salespeople earned decades ago is still true today, even though nothing could be further than the truth. Bad salespeople still exist, but most of the bad behaviors are rarer now than ever. Prospects, with more power than ever, easily dismiss the self-oriented, pushy approach that was once commonplace.
Let’s look at sales through a different lens, one that more accurately represents what it is salespeople do.
The Development of Relationships
Where do clients come from? Who develops the relationships of trust while creating the kind of value that results in new opportunities? Who does the yeoman’s work of prospecting and building relationships where none previously existed? What could be more important that developing the commercial relationships that result in strangers becoming clients?
What is more noble than developing and deepening relationships? What else might you do that allows you to be at the forefront of solving real business problems and creating value for people who need your help?
The money you ask for is what clients exchange so that your company can dedicate and apply the resources necessary to solve their problems. Paying is noble, too.
Responsibility for the Strategic Outcome of Client Acquisition
Client acquisition isn’t what you might believe it to be. It isn’t about quotas, even though that is one way we measure success. The bigger–and more important–outcome of client acquisition is strategic.
Who are your dream clients? For whom do we create the most value, and which of these prospective clients would believe that value is strategic enough that they are willing to pay for it? Who have we chosen to ignore, knowing that no matter what we may do they will not perceive the value we create?
Salespeople are the sharp end of the spear when it comes to executing the company’s strategy.
Business Growth, Client Growth, and Customer Retention
Companies grow larger when one or more of these three things are true: 1). They are acquiring new clients at a rate faster than they churn clients, 2). They are selling more to their existing clients, and 3). They are raising their prices enough to result in increasing revenue.
Salespeople acquire those new clients. Much of the time, salespeople create the new opportunities that result in new opportunities within their existing clients. Almost invariably, the sales force is the one to communicate a price increase, and they are always responsible for creating and winning new opportunities after prices have been raised, no matter what.
By helping their clients grow, salespeople help their company grow. They also retain those clients, ensuring they get first dibs on new opportunities, often opportunities the salesperson creates by showing up with a new, value-creating idea.
Sales isn’t something you do to someone. It’s something you do for and with someone. It’s a noble profession.
Maybe it’s time to look at sales through a different lens.
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Filed under: Sales 3.0