As sales consultative sales professionals, we focus on solving our customers’ problems. We qualify customers by finding those with problems they want to solve, focus on identifying their pain and needs, then propose how our solution addresses those better than any others. And our competitors seek to do the same.
But we have a much greater opportunity to create value and develop deeper relationships with our customers. It’s through helping them discover opportunities—things that can make them more efficient or effective, things that improve their ability to serve their customers, things that help them grow and expand. Our customers have goals and visions for the future–both as enterprises and individuals. Often, the momentum of day to day activities blinds them. They focus so much on fighting the alligators, they forget they really wanted to drain the swamp—or they think that fighting alligators is their purpose for existing.
Great sales people are students of their customers’ businesses and industries. Great sales people are great business people. They ask themselves the question, “If I were running this business, what would I do to improve and grow it?” They go to their customers with ideas and possibilities–not frivolous, but well thought out with specific recommendations of how to get from here to there. They keep them simple, they show how they can fit into the customer’s current priorities and goals. Great sales people come with ideas that enable the customer “fight the alligators and drain the swamp.” Or they show the customer how addressing the new opportunity eliminates the current problems that are distracting them.
Great sales people help their customers understand what they don’t know.
Sales people have an advantage over their customers–they don’t have to be consumed by day to day survival. They can take the time to look at their customers’ futures, helping them to discover new opportunities.
Yes, our job is helping our customers solve their problems, but it is also helping them realize their dreams!