To many, sales is monotonous, an endless cadence of block and tackle, kick and punt; or ruck and maul if you're into rugby. This to me is the allure of strategic selling because you can fall in love with your customers. You can fall in love with the challenge of solving complex problems that actually require collaboration.
The solution provider no longer has all the answers. The journey is mutual.
It requires a back and forth, meeting of the minds, and brainstorming of visionary ideas.
The modern enterprise deal requires executive sponsors on both sides to get done.
A great secret to avoiding burnout and a tenured run in complex B2B selling is to simply fall in love with helping people. Consider the sale made when the solution has been stood up and you've executed with excellence. Consider your sales process complete not at closing, not at contract signed but at phase two of the implementation. When you're live and the customer is seeing return on investment, that's when the deal is really just beginning, isn't it?
Thinking in terms of up-sells, cross-sells and down-sells is to bleed out organic growth into something sterile. It's what you'll do as a bi-product of continuing to add value. I call this a virtuous cycle of value creation.
Love is a very strong word but if you love what you do, you'll absolutely never work another day in your life. All the mechanics, updating of CRM, note taking, strategic thinking, planning things out, brainstorming - all these mechanics and machine constructs just melt away when your prevailing focus is to...
TRANSFORM THEIR BUSINESS
Does that mean simply impacting the top and bottom line or is it something more than that? Is it beautiful destruction? Is it a controlled burn to open up the possibility of recurring, scalable and predictable new streams of revenue from various new and exciting key business lines? Is it penetrating new markets or capturing market share from legacy incumbents? Perhaps you're expanding the pie...
Loving people and being gregarious is not enough. This is the folly of the relationship builder of old. We earn friends by driving new insight. We want to be stewards of transformation rather than the status quo. We gain meetings by being respectfully disruptive and we close sales because there is truly a belief that doing something in a new and innovative way can revolutionize a system, making it hyper-efficient, building a flywheel toward revenue generation.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - Buckminster Fuller
Help your clients to see this and do this. Fight with all your intention to help them see the world differently and you will prevail with a much greater trusted advisor relationship than you could ever bargain for. Challenge yourself to see around corners and bring insights that you synthesize from research you yourself do. As you fall in love with helping them, they will fall in love with your personal brand and thus your organization will flourish as a subtext to your deeds, integrity, delivery and ongoing results.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: Ralf P
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