There is such a thing as a salesperson
that has the heart of a teacher.
Everyone feels like they have figured out how to talk to salespeople. You have a strategy too, don’t you? It might be, 1) close the door in the their face. 2) return to task. Well, having worked both sides of that coin (nearly a decade in sales across multiple industries) let me share something with you. A salesperson can be your greatest asset in relationships with businesses. They can also be a royal pain in your tuccus, too. And I would like to share with you how to turn them from a nuisance to your ally.
1) Find a servant teacher, not a professional seller of things
Used car salesman is the stereotype. It’s the person whose single and prominent agenda is to manipulate you into parting ways with your money TODAY. They are snakes. And the best way to kill a metaphorical snake is to metaphorically chop off its head.
Not every salesperson is a used car salesman, though. There IS such a thing as a salesperson that has the heart of a teacher. And there are plenty of them out there. You want to find a person who is interested in serving your needs, truly understanding you and your brand and legitimately assisting in the growth of your business.
You can recognize a servant teacher who exhibits these characteristics: listens, empathetic, problem-solving (as opposed to product placement), aware, commitment centered and community-focused. Because they won’t always be able to help you, a servant teacher must be willing to admit when their item is not the best fit and make a recommendation for what would be best.
2) Engage in conversation
If you are dealing with a servant teacher, you will always learn something you didn’t know about your own business by engaging. Give them twenty minutes for the first conversation, because that’s all it should take. If multi-million dollar deals with venture capitalists only take twenty minutes, so should their sales conversation.
When you finish the conversation, let them know honestly if you are at all interested, are not interested, or need more time/information to process.
3) Don’t be afraid to spend money for results
Every relationship is a risk, the same is true for professionals. You will be taking a risk with a salesperson. So if you don’t have a few hundred dollars to spare in order to throw into a local ad, don’t do it. You’ll only regret the risk later, no matter the results.
4) Ask for data
Analyzing business data is important for you. They should have this information. If you want to know the click count to their website where your banner will be displayed, ask for it. If you want some testimonials or some proof of previous successes, it is okay to ask for that. If they don’t have the information on hand, an opportunity is created to see if they truly follow up with you, because that is a great measure of how important to them you really are as a client.
5) Hold true to your word
The worst clients I ever have are those who lie to me, don’t hold up to their end of the bargain, or who didn’t give me clear expectations from the beginning. It was impossible to work with them because we were always clashing. So if you say that you are going to reply to a request by a certain date, or answer a quote, do it.
Keep this in mind, salespeople can fire you the same way that you can fire them.
Have you ever had a great relationship with a salesperson that really helped your business? Describe it in the comments below.