Why Your Sales Process Is Broken
Having the word “sales” in your business development process inherently makes the process broken. Sales practices today are largely contrived, disingenuous, phony, and inauthentic. Sales means you’re selling someone something. Manipulating. Coercing. Not respecting.
The core shift that’s needed may rattle seasoned sales professionals, but it starts with the golden rule of business development – Never Sell.
That’s the first thing the team at Nebo told me when I joined. True business development professionals do one thing and one thing only – they solve problems.
They make decisions with their company’s brand, personal reputation, and clients’ goals in mind. Sometimes that means we take on a new project. Sometimes it means we don’t. Sometimes it means competitors get the business. Sometimes it means the prospects keep the project internal.
If solving our clients' goals are number one, I'll ultimately be benefitting the Nebo brand as well as my own reputation. A person is only as good as his or her word. If my word means something, business will come. Maybe not the short-term deal, but business development isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. The Nebo brand and my word are more important than any quota. Than any commission. Than any target. It’s all we have, and I’ll never give that away.
For example, a recent client wanted an iPad app for its sales staff. After working with the client to understand its needs, we realized it only needed a well-designed Keynote presentation. Yet, the client had the budget for the app. Our team would’ve loved to build the app (and equally loved the corresponding revenue it would bring) but we strongly recommended the Keynote approach. We were solving a problem, not identifying a pain point.
The early years of selling were all about the techniques. Then it was about technological tools and enablers for these techniques. Even then, the process was still a linear transactional process – prospect, approach, qualify, negotiate, and close. It was a “hunter pursing the prey” sort of thing.
But sales shouldn’t be any of that. It should be about authenticity, collaboration, relationships, and connecting the dots. It should be about providing prospects with a positive, dynamic, and engaging experience to solve their problems – not ours.
And even if this isn’t your core belief, you’ll quickly be forced to a new point of view because people have the power of choice and information – as well as the expectation of respect and true engagement. When deciding to buy, customers judge the authenticity of an offering (and a company) as much as, if not more than, price, quality, and availability.
The old adage phrase, “Nobody likes to be sold, but everyone loves to buy,” is almost true. While it’s true everyone likes to “buy” so-to-speak, it still implies manipulation. If you solve a problem, you’re invaluable. Make a sale, you’re just a commodity.
My recommendation before embarking on creating or refining your sales process is to first determine whether or not your business development process can pass the “Guy in the Glass” test from the poem in our previous post. If it doesn’t, then you may want to reconsider your strategy.