My manager was riding along on my sales call so that he could watch me give a presentation. It was 1992, before laptops were widely used in sales, and my presentation was a massive binder. The binder had 84 pages of written content, and it was tabbed out by category.
I started reading the binder to my prospect, beginning on page 1, telling the story of how William Olsten started Olsten Services during World War II, by driving secretaries to places they were needed in the Olstenmobile. I continued on to page 2, and then page 3, and then page 4.
I’m not sure what page I was reading, but I was deep into the binder when I noticed my manager seemed displeased. I finished the presentation and, as we found ourselves on the sidewalk in front of the building, he began his debrief. He said, “How do you think that went?” I replied, “I thought that went pretty well. What do you think?” He said, “I think you should be brought up on charges for almost killing that poor woman. Did you not notice that you put her in a catatonic state? I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to revive her.”
Before I was officially a salesperson, I never carried anything to a meeting but a pen and a legal pad. Once I was forced into outside sales and given some training and tools, I completely changed what had been working for me. I won more accounts before I was a salesperson than I did over my first few months of sales.
What my manager taught me that day was that no one cares about you or your company. They care about their company, and mostly only about two or three things they believe are most important.
Because we have all of these concepts for the things that we do when we acquire new clients, it’s easy to lose sight of one of the primary outcomes of selling: creating a preference for you, your company, and your solution. That preference isn’t likely found on your slide deck.
- You start creating a preference by capturing mindshare as you nurture your dream clients. You could be known as the person who knows how to explain the challenges your dream client faces and what to do about them.
- During your initial meeting, you could create a preference by being fully present, and by helping explore your dream clients state while also sharing ideas that support the case for change. You could be better prepared, more knowledgeable, and more personable.
- If your dream client could already produce the result they need without you, they’d already be doing it. One way to create a preference is to help your dream client build consensus within their organization. You could be someone who can lead.
- Presenting multiple solutions, sharing the trade-offs that might need to make, and exploring plans to mitigate risks in a collaborative can create a preference. If you believe that sales is about change, and not just peddling your wares.
- A lot of salespeople mistakenly believe that they can create a preference by lowering their price. It’s better to go the other way and create a preference by being the salesperson who helps their dream client make the investment necessary to get the results they really need. When does investing less in an important outcome improve the results?
What do you do at every step of your sales process and during every client interaction to create a preference for you, for your company, and for your solution?
Coment to send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Hit forward to send this to someone who may be going through the motions, struggling to create a preference. Ask them join us here each Sunday by signing up at www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.
Do good work, and I’ll see you here next week!
P.S. Literally dozens of people emailed me because they missed the opportunity to preorder The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, my first book, being released on October 11th. I had to do some financial maneuvering to be able to reopen the site, so if you want access to the bonuses, you need to go to preorder.theonlysalesguide.com now.
P.P.S. It is very rare that I speak at public events. It’s even more rare that I get to share the stage with my friend Mike Weinberg. On October 17th, 2016, Mike and I will both be speaking at the Enterprise Sales Meetup in New York City from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET. Join us by signing up here: http://bit.ly/2dmQlRn