Intent is More Important Than Capabilities

How often have you lost a sale to a competitor that you know you could out-perform? How did you respond? Did you blame the “stupid buyer?” Or, perhaps you affirmed that the competition lied to get the business? What if you stepped back and asked yourself, “Why would they have bought from me?”

I have observed hundreds of sales calls and selling cycles in my career. And, I have seen sales won and lost by the intention of the sales executive. If we are more interested in making a commission our buyer will sense that. How would you react to the sales professional that only wants to make the sale? Buyers are already worried because they know we are compensated for our ability to influence others.

This is by no means a call to water down the profession of selling. As professionals, our job is to identify, qualify and bring in good deals for our organizations. If we are good at that, we earn a lot of money.  

It still comes down to intention. If the buyer recognizes that we are interested in helping them to solve a problem and that we really want to understand the problem so that we can devise a good solution we will see our sales improve on a large scale.

So what do we do when we have a quota to meet, a boss that is jumping up and down screaming for more business?

1.    Have a healthy pipeline – when the pipeline is full of quality deals individual deals lose their power and you are able to act from a place of confidence and strength. This also relieves the pressure to close now. You can take the time to build the relationship, the trust and the base of information to deliver a compelling solution.

2.    Don’t love ‘em and leave ‘em. I just finished a meeting with my Financial Advisor, we were talking about my mother in law, how her planner had sold her some annuities had disappeared, and she was thinking of moving her money. He explained how the other advisors were paid up front on these products and now there was no commission for the advisor, so they probably didn’t call. Paul and I both recounted stories of how some of our smaller clients (in different professions) had turned into multi-million dollar clients because we stayed in touch in meaningful ways. Your existing clients are a great source of business.

3.    Remember it is about helping the client solve their problems. When we are offering real value with sincere intent, we will get the deal.

One Comment:

  1. Hi John,

    Very telling entry. To me, one line made this entire post:
    “If the buyer recognizes that we are interested in helping them to solve a problem and that we really want to understand the problem so that we can devise a good solution we will see our sales improve on a large scale.”

    That’s it! If a salesperson would focus their entire efforts on helping the customer solve their problem, rather than on trying to make a sale, they will get a lot more sales.

    The old adage of “ABC – Always Be Closing” is outdated today. Today our motto needs to be something along the line of “always listen to your customer and help them solve their problem”.

    Too bad their is no cute acronym for that!

    Thanks again for a great entry, John.

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