Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. - Theodore Roosevelt
As sales people our past success over several decades has been driven by data - data in the form of what we KNEW. Our success in “selling” was once based on the information that we had in our heads, the people that we knew, the contacts that we had, and the resources that we knew how to deploy.
Unfortunately, today significant portions of what once made us winners no longer matter, and many of us still can’t get over the ways of the past.
In a recent blog, a friend and fellow sales fanatic, Dave Brock wrote about how poorly many sales people today prospect for clients. Check out his thoughts, they are great. I see the same thing today from EVERY single call and email that I get from salespeople who are wanting a piece of my time.
The message starts like this:
(We can stop right here because clearly my name was picked out of some database somewhere. The only person ever to call me by my full name was my Mother, when I was in trouble.)
“Mitchell, my name is Bob Blah and I would really like to have just 10 minutes of your time to tell you all about my blah, blah, blah. We are number one in blah, blah, blah. And today we serve 159 of the Fortune 500 companies. Our blah, blah, blah, will help you sell more and solve all of your problems.”
I actually do not pick up my office phone any longer because these calls come all day, every day. It’s sad. If just once, one of these hard working folks would call up and demonstrate that they actually cared about what was important to me, I would be delighted to call them back. But in the last decade that has never happened. Not even once.
To connect with the people in our lives, while selling or not, we have to CARE, and we have care about THEM.
Our understanding of what is important to THEM, what their challenges are, and how we can help, must come before we ever get into a discussion about our products or services or anything to do with us.
Our clients will care about what we have to say, ONLY when we clearly demonstrate that we care about them FIRST. And it must be in that order. And it must be genuine and sincere. No games, no pitches, no opening and closing strategies, no handling of objections, no manipulation, no SELLING!
Start with caring about them as people, not them as a part of a company. Do your homework about their world. Understand what you can about their issues in their company, their challenges in their industry, the risks that they face daily in innovation… And keep seeking to understand, because you care. Turn the understanding and caring around to focus on the person that you are serving.
You will find that those people that you care enough to serve well from their perspective will in fact care a great deal about what YOU have to say, in time. And from there the caring and information sharing explodes.
Your clients care because you care. You first!
Once upon a time our value as sales people was information. It actually still is, but the new reality is that to get to the point in a client relationship where your information is again valuable, you must enter into that relationship from the perspective of listening and diagnosing first, extensively, before you prescribe.
Sounds easy, but most sales people that I interact with today are still pushing their stuff on me before they have ever stopped to understand me. Too bad. Their loss, and our gain, since we know the secret… CARE about the people who you serve.