Selling is hard, particularly when you don’t have a unique product.
I spent over 12 years in the banking industry trying to sell products that the guy next door was offering. In fact, in many cases, I was at a disadvantage. The competitor has a cheaper product with faster processing time.
So, where did that leave me? I still had revenue targets to meet and I still wanted to get paid a performance bonus.
So what did I do?
The one thing that I decided to do that most sales people didn’t… was to help. I genuinely wanted to help the client. I was sincerely concerned with the client’s problem and I connected with them because of that.
I never let them feel that I was trying to sell something to them. My only aim was to take their pain away… and guess what? Clients loved it.
To me, they were not just another revenue target to achieve. They were real people with real problems and I had a solution to solve it. Whether I did that by selling my product or not, was not important.
So very often, I didn’t have a product that was appropriate. I didn’t have anything to offer them other than my ear and possibly my advice.
I told them that! I gave them my advice, even it meant they had to go to a competitor to find a solution.
What I got in return, was priceless. I earned the client’s trust. They appreciated my honesty and realized that I wasn’t about to shove something down their throats just to make a sale.
In most cases, I ended up building a level of trust with the client that meant that they could ask me for advice on their problems without feeling like they had to buy something from me.
They knew I would tell them what’s best for them and their company whether my product fit or not.
But I still had to make money. So how did this all turn into sales?
Ultimately, the client realized that when I pushed a product to them, it was only because I thought it was best for them.
I can’t count the number of times that I actually sold a product even though I was more expensive. The client knew that they would not only get the benefit of my advice along the way, they would also receive superior service afterwards.
That’s another thing about sales. It’s not just a one-time gig. You want to build a base of long-time, loyal customers to create a steady flow of repeat sales.
Everything I’ve written so far is about building a relationship and connecting with customer.
This is particularly useful in the financial industry because it means you are close enough to see the warning signs if your client is in trouble.
But, even in a more positive context, the closer you get to your client, the more you have the potential to anticipate their needs and build a lasting relationship which will ultimately lead to sales, no matter where you go.
The bottom line: Learn to connect with your clients instead of just pushing a sale. You will build relationships for a steady flow of repeat sales and often, end up making a sale where you never thought possible.
Originally published at https://www.ayeshatariq.com on November 14, 2019.