Chris and I were recently on a conference call with an executive team that is considering purchasing our training. We asked the conference organizer what we had done to make it to the short list of people who were presenting. She said, "You followed through with information when you said you would, and you followed up when you said you would. You'd be surprised at how many of your competitors don't do that." I thought it was interesting she mentioned those things before she mentioned anything about our training solutions.
People buy the way you sell, before they buy what you sell. Of course you have to have a great product and/or solution to the problems your prospects are facing. Equally important is the process you follow when working with your clients.
In our pre-meeting planning, the organizer told us that the executives wanted to hear first about our philosophy of training, and why we do what we do, before they hear how we are going to do it.
Simon Sinek in his best seller, Start With Why shares a concept called the Golden Circle:What (comprising the outermost band of the circle): Every organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. These are products they sell or the services they offer.How (the middle band of the circle): Some organizations know HOW they do it. These are the things that make them special or set them apart from the competition.Why (the center "bullseye" of the circle): Very few organizations know WHY they do what they do. "Why" is not about making money. That's the result. It's a purpose, cause, or belief. It's the very reason your organization exists.
Sinek suggests that most of the time we have it backwards. We start with What, then How, and sometimes we get to Why. Reversing that order, even if you don't change the information, can make a huge difference on the impact of the information you share: Start with WHY, then HOW, then WHAT you will do.
There were two key lessons reinforced in our recent presentation:
1. DWYSYWD: Do What You Said You Would Do. Whether it's a phone call, sending information, or some other assignment, if you commit to it, make sure you do it. On time. Each time you "forget" or are late with an assignment you've committed to, you are damaging your credibility and causing the prospect to question how a "service" experience with you might be. If you don't live up to your commitment in the sales process, there's little to no chance you'll live up to commitments if you get the business. At least that's the message you're sending.
2. People buy the way you sell and why, before they buy what you sell. There is a great deal of competition for what you sell. Oftentimes the difference between competitive products can be very minimal. Why you do what you do, and the way you sell, can be key differentiators.
We teach sellers the value of having a personal mission statement and a "This is how I work" statement. When you start with your personal mission statement, you're sharing with your clients and prospects WHY you do what you do, besides the money. When you share with them "This is how I work," you're telling them the process you follow -- the way you sell.
Do you have a personal mission statement? Do you know why you're doing this job, besides the money? Do you know the purpose, cause, or belief of the company you're working for?
Here is my personal mission statement?my WHY:
When a sale is made, jobs are created, businesses thrive, and dreams are achieved. We are on the front lines of economic growth and prosperity in our market. By challenging the status quo, I can make a positive, lasting difference in the lives of those around me.
This is HOW we work at Sparque:
Chris and Jeff were fortunate to have mentors who showed them the pathways to become successful in sales. Driven by passion for helping new sellers find those same pathways -- and an internal desire to make a positive and lasting impact on the sales profession in general -- Chris and Jeff have found a way to pay it forward by providing the education, information, and tools to help successful people become more successful ? sooner.
Try it during your next presentation. Start with why -- share your personal mission statement. Then tell them how you work, what's your process, and how you will work to achieve the goals and objectives of your clients. If you do that, you will be pleasantly surprised at how well they respond. I'd love to hear from you about how it worked.
We don't know yet if we will have the privilege of working for the executives we met with recently. What we do know is how important it is to start with Why and follow through. Simon Sinek provided me with a brief PowerPoint about the Golden Circle and Why. Send me an email and I?ll follow his advice and share it with you.
Jeff Schmidt is EVP and Partner at Sparque, Inc. You can reach Jeff at Jeff.Schmidt@Sparque.biz
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