My father and I take an annual fishing trip in the Canadian Wilderness. As soon as we arrive, the first thing we always do is ask how fishing has been and what kind of bait is working best. We walked up to the dock there and asked those questions.
The guy at the dock said, "You're definitely going to want night crawlers!" So I bought several dozen night crawlers, and a few minnows, anticipating a wildly successful first day of fishing.
The next morning we headed out on the lake and of course, we back trolled night crawlers all morning long. We caught a couple of small fish, but had limited success. It was certainly not the kind of day we were accustomed to! Finally, in the afternoon, I decided to try a minnow. Fairly quickly, we started catching walleye with the minnows, and our last couple of hours before dark were fantastic!
When we returned to the dock I told the guy who sold me the bait that we had no luck with night crawlers, but had started catching with minnows. He said, "Oh yeah! I'm not surprised, everybody's been catching on minnows!" Baffled, I said to him, "But you said to buy night crawlers." "Well," he confided, "We had just gotten a bunch of night crawlers in and we were selling them cheap!"
Immediately, this person lost all credibility with me. He did not sell me what I needed. He sold me what he needed to get rid of. As sales people, when we're only focused on selling the client whatever special we have going or whatever inventory we have open, we're focused on filling our own needs instead of being focused on the needs of the client. If we spend time getting to know our clients and what their needs and goals are, we will be more successful in sales.
Today's challenge is to go make it all about the client and see what kind of response you get. I needed the bait guy to sell me what I could catch fish with, and he sold me what he needed to get rid of. What will your approach be? Remember, in sales, put the client first and always find your swagger!
Written by Derron Steenbergen, President of Swagger Institute
Swagger Institute is a full service business development company offering sales and leadership training, motivational speaking and organizational consulting.