What have you done for your customers lately? The better question is to ask your customers what they feel you’ve done for them. Being relevant to your customers is not what you believe it is.
Too many salespeople believe if they’re providing good service, taking care of problems that arise and always being ready for the customer, then they are providing stellar service.
Those things the salesperson thinks equate to great service are nothing more than meeting the customer’s basic expectations. Be serious when answering this next question: “Could an app or an online program provide my customers with everything I currently provide them?”
For too many salespeople, the answer to that question is a definitive “yes!” An app could replace them. The issue then becomes not if you’ll be replaced, but when you’ll be replaced. Quality customer service and handling problems are merely the basics of doing business. Ten years ago it might have been seen as “value-added,” but that’s no longer the case.
So what does it take to be seen as relevant? It starts with the customer seeing you, the salesperson, as a “strategic optimizer.” This is a salesperson who understands the customer’s business, not just where it is today, but also where it needs to be two, three and five years from now.
It’s about helping the customer get to a position in their own industry that allows them to have a strategic advantage over their competition. In a B2C environment, it’s helping customers achieve an outcome faster and better than they expected.
A salesperson doesn’t just flip the switch and become a “strategic optimizer.” It takes time and diligence to move from just responding to a customer to now having the customer respond to you. This dynamic happens when the customer sees you as a person with whom they need to speak, because of the questions you ask, the insights you bring, and the outcomes you help uncover.
I’ll argue a measurement every company should have for their salespeople is one that measures the incremental business the salesperson creates due to new opportunities they helped open up with a customer. Is that challenging to determine? Sure it is, but if we’re not willing to push the envelope in what we expect, what makes us believe we’ll ever get anything different?
When we reach the point where we’re “strategic optimizers,” then we have achieved sales leadership with our customers, and with that comes a much greater probability of securing more business at a higher margin.
Delivering great customer service, answering questions for the customer and merely being the nice salesperson isn’t going to help you keep your job. A better approach is to ask yourself whom you need to meet, what knowledge you need to gain and what questions you need to ask to begin uncovering new opportunities.
Your customers seeing you as relevant means they will see you as a sales leader. Join me June 15-16 in NYC for Sales Machine where I’ll discuss this more! You can register at this link.
Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is recognized as one of the top 50 most influential sales and marketing leaders in the world. Author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price,” Mark not only has expertise in sales, but also knows how to communicate it to others. This is seen best by his travel schedule and the 50+ speaking events he does each year throughout the U.S. and Canada and around the world. Mark has received the distinguished Certified Professional Speaker designation from the National Speakers Association.