Last Monday, I wrote a blog post titled The Truth about Telling the Truth.
The short version of that post is that I recommended to a client that they increase their budget by one million dollars to solve their largest, most strategic challenge. My competitor recommended they increase their spend by half that amount. They liked the idea of spending five hundred thousand more than they liked the idea of spending one million. And who wouldn’t?
The punchline of the story in that post is that you have to tell your prospective client the truth, and not what you believe they want to hear. You may lose business in the short term this way, but you will gain more in the future by doing what is right.
At the end of that story, they emailed me for help. Yesterday, I received another email from this same client, pleading for help, and describing how they were failing to achieve their strategic goals.
Why Good People and Good Companies Fail
The people running this company are good people. The company is a good company, and they do good work.
They are not failing because they aren’t smart enough to succeed. They are plenty smart enough to do what they need to do.
Their struggle to produce the results they need also has nothing whatsoever to do with how hard they are working. They are putting forth the effort.
The reason they are failing is because they haven’t effectively dealt with their constraints, in this case, financial constraints. This is often what prevents your clients from achieving the results they need.
The bottleneck preventing these people from achieving their goal is money. They are investing too little to get the results they need, even after increasing their investment by a rather significant amount. The circumstances that require the larger investment haven’t changed and, unfortunately, are immune to half measures.
On Trust and Advice
A lot of people who sell and who serve clients will tell you that they want to be a trusted advisor. They’ll tell you they want to be consultative, that they don’t want to be “salesy,” and by that they mean they don’t want to be egocentric and self-oriented.
But this story exactly describes what you have to do if you want your client to turn to you for help with their biggest challenges, if you want to be the first person they think of when they need help, and if you want to be a category of one.
The first lesson is you have to tell the truth, even when it means you lose an opportunity in the short term. The second lesson here, and one that I didn’t say enough about in the original blog post, is that you have to deal with the root cause of your client’s problem, not the presenting problem. You have to help them deal with their constraints, even when they don’t want to.
Do What Is Right Because it Is Right
Do what is right because it is right.
You never have to worry about losing deals because you told the truth and because your prospective client is unwilling or unable to deal with their constraints. If you are playing the long game, you will win more than enough business to cover what you lose by being truthful and by doing the highest quality work.
Comment to send me your thoughts, your ideas, and your stories. If you know someone who needs to read this newsletter now, forward it to them, and invite them to join us here each Sunday by signing up at www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.
I am off to take my son to college, where he is majoring in Theater, with a minor in Creative Writing. This is a big day for us here!
Do good work this week, and I’ll see you back here next week.
P.S. My book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, is now available for preorder. Thank you to those of you who have preordered. You have massively helped me reach my goal of making some best seller lists. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, go to preorder.theonlysalesguide.com to order the book—and to pick up some crazy, awesome bonuses.
P.P.S. I’ve heard from some of you that you would like some different bonus packages when you preorder the book. I am working on doing something really special here, but it’s a secret. That’s right, I am keeping secrets from you. All will be revealed very soon, but in the meantime, if you need something different, email me and let me know what it is. I’ve already done some custom packages, and I suspect we’ll do more.
P.P.P.S Dan Klawer got his hands on a galley copy and wrote a review here: http://terriblesalespeople.com/the-only-sales-guide-youll-ever-need/ It’s a terrific summary of what’s in the book! Check it out!