The Only Way to Judge Your Success in Sales

The Gist:

  • You might measure your success in sales by your income or how often you make President’s Club, two good measures.
  • Another way is to track the number and value of your won deals.
  • But the best way to judge your success is by the difference you made for your clients, the mother of all the other measures.

The best way to judge your success in sales is not the number of zeros on your paycheck or how many times you were awarded a trip to President’s Club, although both might offer evidence of your success. Likewise, success may or may not be directly related to the number of deals you won, or the size and nature of those deals, or even to your overall win rate.

No, I have another measure in mind, one that arguably leads to all the stacked rankings, performance bonuses, and won deals: how you helped your clients improve their results.

your attentions and your success

Your Intentions and Your Success

There is nothing wrong with wanting to win your dream client’s business. In fact, it’s healthy to want to win, especially when so many salespeople simply go through the motions, never giving themselves over to their craft. Nor is it a bad thing to want to make money, a surplus of which can provide more choices and more opportunities to contribute. But to truly increase your likelihood of achieving success in sales, take a long look at your intentions.

In many of my posts, you’ll find a recurring theme of “the sales conversation,” a term that describes the conversations we have with clients and prospects that result in an opportunity and potentially being awarded their business. To make those conversations valuable and effective, you need to distance yourself from early conversations about your company and your solutions, making room for conversations about your client, their challenges, and their results.

We often track these conversations in our CRMs by listing the client’s name, some reference to the solution they need, and the potential revenue. But the opportunity belongs to your prospective client, as they are the ones who are gain from the opportunity, while you and your company are paid for helping them generate the better results.

Who Wins?

There is no reason to treat sales like almsgiving, an act of altruistic sacrifice to help someone in need. It’s also not a self-oriented pursuit to engage in without any thought or care for the other party. There is a healthy balance of interests here, and fortunately, the nature of winning deals means being client-focused, an idea that returns us to the sales conversation.

If your outcome is winning your client’s business, the only way to achieve it is by creating value for them in the sales conversation. The more you help the decision-makers, decision-shapers, and the stakeholders who are trying to improve their results, the more you create a preference to buy from you and to work with your company. The value of your solution is only available to your clients after they decide to buy from you.

The greater your intention to help your clients improve their results, the more you present yourself as someone worth doing business with in the future. Intentions are seen and felt, even if you don’t know how others perceive you. If your only intention is to win, you can easily get in your own way by projecting that you just want the deal, something very different from wanting your prospective client to succeed.

How to be consultative

What Makes One Consultative

To be truly consultative, you have to help your clients make the right decision for their business. You have to provide them good counsel, even when your advice requires your client to do something that they would rather avoid. When the outcome they need is important to their results, you have to ensure that they do what is necessary, even if it means a number of uncomfortable conversations—and even if it means walking away because what your client wants from you isn’t going to produce the result they need. The long game is harder to play, but it’s the only game worth playing.

It is easy to engage in difficult conversations when your intention is to help your client do what they need to do, not what they would prefer to do. In B2B sales, you can sell successfully by providing your prospective client by providing your solution, as well as by replacing a current supplier who is unable or unwilling to help them with the better results they need. What makes you consultative, however, is convincing them to do what is in their best interest, even though they would prefer to do otherwise.

How you succeed

How You Succeed

The way that you succeed is by ensuring that your client succeeds. This can be confusing because your client can’t produce better results until they buy and execute your solution, making it seem as if you have to succeed before your client succeeds.

Think of it this way: you enable your client’s future success throughout the sales conversation, the only vehicle for you to create the value your clients need to be able to make a good decision, select the right solution, execute it, and realize the better results. You create their future success before you succeed in winning their business and before they begin executing on your advice.

A modern sales approach better enables you to be other-oriented and client-focused, so the best thing you can do improve your results is to sell with the intention of helping your clients succeed. No matter how big the deal (or your payday from it), the way you should judge your success in sales is by the difference you made in your client’s results.

Do Good Work:

  • Accept that there is nothing wrong with earning money or collecting trips to the President’s Club.
  • Recognize that all good things come to you only because you have helped others with an outcome that they couldn’t generate without you.
  • Focus on creating better results for your clients so you can create better results for yourself.

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