I probably have dozens of article drafts on selling that have never been fully developed to the point where they are fit for publication. I might get started writing them and then lose interest or, there might not be enough meat in the topic to meet my standards for a complete article.
All these partial posts are like annoying threads that keep popping up on the edges of my favorite worn out bell-bottom jeans. Well, I’m getting out the scissors and here are three and we’ll follow up with three more on a regular basis. Bon appetite!
I don’t read what I write and …
I don’t listen to what I say. Finally, I don’t look in the mirror because there is always this old coot who is there staring back at me. I’m really not sure why, once a written project has been completed or an interview has been conducted, I rarely read/listen/watch it again. Perhaps I won’t like the results.
I’ve never read my own book but, then again, I read the son of a bitch enough while I was writing it and that was a painful process that I was happy to put behind me. I’ve never listened to an interview mostly because I don’t like talking about myself. That and my verbal ticks.
However, I always review every sales call that I make. I closely evaluate what went right and what I might have done better. Now, if I might have made that sale only if I had … that is a big problem for me since I hate losing more than I love winning.
When you have been selling for a long time, and particularly with the same product, complacency has a way of working itself in. “I’ve done this so long that I don’t even have to think about doing it!” This is a guaranteed recipe for failure and … failure is not, should not, be an option.
A long time ago I made this determination. Losing occasionally is an inevitable result of selling but, if I did lose, the only way that I could accept that and move on was if I had left absolutely everything that I had on the field of battle. If so, losing might be tolerable while still not acceptable. It works!
Act Like You Work There
There is an old saying that “you should always dress for the job that you want, not for the job that you have”. The same general thing holds true in sales as it pertains to our customers …
“If you act like you work for them, you will soon be seen as a team member rather than as a vendor”
How so? Well, it’s actually quite subtle. There are no announcements. You do it via your actions …
- You work for your customer more than for your company by ensuring that they are taken care of with the right product and service.
- You blend in with their people and you connect with other team members.
- You are unique, memorable, indispensable, and irreplaceable.
- You find ways to contribute that are not even related to your services.
- You are upfront and honest even when it hurts.
I said that it was subtle and it is. You will begin to notice that you are no longer being viewed as, or treated as, a vendor. You have moved up to the status of a trusted advisor who will have earned the right to future business rather than the ability to compete for it. Nice!
Contingency Sales and Offer Sheets
Contingency sales are much like offer sheets. We take a sales contract, add contingencies, and everybody initials each. What we are saying is that, if the company is willing to accept certain changes to the contract, or if certain things are approved by the buyer, we have a deal. What is important is that they have signed something and, at least psychologically, they have removed themselves from the market. In most cases, this deal is done.
Your success with contingency orders is going to be predicated on one factor. You must have established at least enough of a relationship with the buyer for them to feel comfortable in sharing with you those sticking points that are preventing them from going ahead with the order. Other than that, there is nothing about contingency orders that is not to love …
- Your pen is out and getting that visible can sometimes be an uncomfortable moment as both you and your buyer know what a pen is for.
- Every edit (contingency) that you make to the order is a minor point close.
- Asking for the order is easy! Have we covered everything?”
Bonus Points! Contingency orders will drive management nuts. I’ve turned in orders that have more scribbling, cross outs, and initialing than a redacted CIA document. They will grumble like hell as they accept it which makes all of that hard work doubly rewarding.
Now, I never even proposed contingencies that I knew were not going to be acceptable to my company. If needed, I could sell them on each and I have never had a contingency order bounce back on me by either party. Never.