Many years ago I made the decision to get into media sales. I was convinced that this could not be too hard and that I was going to kill it from the start. You see, I was too smart to realize I just didn't have a clue about how to approach sales.
I set out from day one committed to telling my story to as many businesses as possible. I had work ethic. I had drive and determination. I had plenty of "want to." The thing I did not have was an understanding of how the sales process worked. I spent most of my first year puzzled by my limited success. I was working hard, but not getting much to show for it. I began to question my decision to make this my career. I was most certainly questioning why small business owners and decision makers were not more receptive to what I had to offer.
Mediocre levels of success forced me to evaluate everything I was doing and how I was approaching my clients. You could say one day I had a "light bulb" moment. You could also say it was like a big truck ran over me. I was embarrassed at my lack of understanding. I was disgusted that I had allowed myself to approach it all so poorly. You see, this profound moment happened when I realized one simple thing. I realized it is not about me and my story. I had to acknowledge that I had spent too many months telling the business community how great I was without ever taking an interest in them. I never took the time to learn about them and what they needed. Shame on me for making it all about me.
I was amazed how quickly I found success when I was 100% focused on the needs of my clients. They only cared about me once I showed them I cared about them and their business.
Imagine going on a first date and spending the entire time telling them how great you are without ever asking about them and their interests. You think you have much chance of getting a second date? I bet not! Dale Carnegie has a quote I love. "You can make more friends in two months by being interested in people than you can in two years getting people interested in you."
How are you approaching your clients? Are you making it about them and their needs, or are you just focused on your own needs and that budget you have to hit. I only teach the things I have screwed up. Go make it all about the client and I predict you will like the results!
Until then, Swagger On!!
Written by Derron Steenbergen, President of Swagger Institute
The Swagger Institute is a business consulting company specializing in sales training, motivational speaking and organizational development.