You have tremendous business acumen and situational knowledge. You understand your client’s business well enough, and you know where your business and theirs intersect exceptionally well. You were able to capture their mindshare by sharing with them an understanding of why they have the challenges they’re having, how to make changes that produce better results, and you gained their trust and support. You won the account on your merits as a value creator and someone worthy of being a strategic partner.
But as you started to execute with your team, you and your client started to experience the day-to-day challenges of implementing. It required a lot more of your attention, and sometimes around the more transactional tasks that must be done. Even though these tasks do not belong to you, they either weren’t getting done or weren’t getting done fast enough for you or your client, so you jumped in there and became another pair of hands. You made sure that whatever needed to be done was done effectively.
As time went by, your client depended on you to help them execute and achieve the outcomes you sold them. A lot of what started to show up was more transactional work that belongs to someone else on your team. There was that one time an order was lost, and they asked you to track it down because it was important. Another time they had an invoice problem and 11 invoices needed re-typed. You had a tough time finding somebody to do it, so you did it yourself. Your client was grateful for your effort. And then they called for help as they prepared for an internal meeting and needed reports. You generated the reports and added four-color charts to make sure that their meeting was a success.
Because you owned the transactions and not the outcomes, you’ve managed to move from a peer, a trusted advisor, and a strategic partner, to a typist, a clerk, and an administrative assistant. Even though all of the things that you did were necessary, you’ve changed your perception from a value-creating change agent to something less than that.
Bringing on the new, large, and important clients may require that you do whatever is necessary to produce the outcomes you’ve sold. None of this is to say that you cannot lend a hand to your team under certain circumstances. Instead, it’s a reminder that you are responsible for the outcomes you sell not all the transactions that surround that outcome. It’s also a reminder that the value you create for your clients must be something of greater and more strategic value.
Stay in your lane.
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Filed under: Sales Knowledge