When someone asks what we do, we avoid saying “it” at all costs.
- “What do I do? Business development.”
- “I’m a connector.”
- “I’m our company’s relationship manager.”
- “I’m Director of Strategic Problem Solving and Warm Fuzzy Feeling Distribution.”
We hate just saying it. “I do sales.”
Why do we hate talking about it? Why are we ashamed? The truth is, we don’t have to be.
You can overcome your sales shame without becoming “that guy.”
What causes sales shame?
Maybe you think “hating sales” is actually noble. You don’t want to be pushy. You don’t want to shove something down people’s throats. After all, you’re a good guy or gal — not some sleaze ball. You hate sales because the love of sales is the root of all company-client evil.
But here’s the truth – the real cause of your sales shame. And (fair warning) you might not like it.
The reason you “hate sales” is because you are self-centered.
I realize that might come across as harsh (no diss, I promise). But allow me to explain.
What makes a great sale?
Here’s my simple definition: a great sale happens when two parties exchange value, each receiving more than they gave.
When I bought my iPhone 6, I paid over $300. For me, that’s a decent chunk of change to part with at one time, but it was a no-brainer. Why? That iPhone is my most-used device. It genuinely enriches my life, and I love it. (Also, did you know you can play NBA Jam on it?!)
In fact, I would have paid twice as much for my iPhone. Because I got much more value than I gave away. And guess what — in the process, Apple became even more profitable.
If you think about it, a great sale is a miracle. A magical little gem of capitalistic treasure. I give out of my abundance, and you give out of your abundance, and the result is we both have more abundance than when we started. It’s awesome! Who doesn’t like that scenario?
You might be thinking, “That’s not how it feels to do sales for my company. Plus, you called me self-centered, so…”
Here’s what I meant by the self-centeredness comment.
Passion for your company is a good thing. But, often, we tend to think about our product before we consider our prospect. That’s where the fear of “pushiness” is generated. And if that’s the case, you’ve got it backwards.
Here’s how to love sales: love your prospect.
It’s simple. And far less burdensome than a product-first sales approach.
How to embrace the prospect-first approach.
- Start and end with your prospect’s needs, wants, and desires in mind. Start with them, not you. Before your next call, take a second and consider what your prospect cares about. What matters to them? How can the content of your email enrich their life and not be another thing on their to-do list?
- Find out their problem before you start plugging your solution. Don’t perform your pitch — that’s stressful. Ask your prospect valuable questions from the heart.
- Keep your eye on their finish line, not yours. It’s great to know your quarterly goals, but what are you prospect’s quarterly goals? Focus on helping them get there. Position your product in light of their goals, not yours.
- Get personal. OK, so your product will increase their conversions by 200%. But how, specifically, will their business solution impact their personal life?
- When you close a deal, it will feel much more fulfilling. Because you’re not pulling a fast one on your customer—you’re actually solving a problem for them and positively affecting their personal life.
- When you lose a deal, you feel less defeated. Because it was never about you, your ego, or your numbers in the first place.
By putting your prospects before your products, you can answer the “what do you do” question with confidence, not shame.
My name is Blake, and I am a happy “sales” man.
Try this approach and let me know how it works for you. Or if you’re a veteran of “prospect-first” sales, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or email me directly.