The Best Salespeople Are Combative and Collaborative

The salesperson speaking to their team was direct, and just a little combative. Not the kind of combative that would make someone not want to work with them, but combative in the way of not accepting that his company couldn’t accommodate his client’s need.

What they client needed wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t something that the company doesn’t routinely do; in fact, what the client needed is the company’s core business. It didn’t require a discounted rate or some radical change to their approach. The conflict that the salesperson and his peers in operations were working through was a scheduling issue.

The operations team said it couldn’t be done. He offered to move the time, including coming in on the weekend to make sure he was there to oversee the project. He offered Friday, Saturday, Sunday, day or night. When that failed, he pushed to move the job to another one of the company’s locations, knowing that one of their many locations would be able to help.

The salesperson was adamant about succeeding for his customer. He was working to be resourceful, finding a way to get something done. He was pushing his team, and he was pushing himself to get something done. It was clear he felt a sense of responsibility to the client and that he did not intend to fail. He was still working on the problem when I stopped eavesdropping on his phone call.

If you sell your client something, you own that outcome. That doesn’t mean you own the outcome only when it’s easy, when it suits you, or when you don’t have to push internally to get things done. What it means is that you do what is necessary, occasionally pushing and prodding your team, and occasionally being a bit of pain to ensure that your client succeeds.

When there is conflict between you and your operations team, don’t focus on people, focus on the problem (exactly what I witnessed here). The general rule is that you need to answer one question and one question only: How do we take care of this client now?

Filed under: Accountability

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