This blog isn’t about me. BUT…I recently closed the toughest sales deal in my entire sales career. Many people love to hate sales people. I don’t blame them.
They’re We are easy targets. They’re We are known to be annoying, self absorbed, terrible listeners. We have long lunches, come and go as we please and we come back to the office dressed well, laughing out loud with with our big white shiny teeth and with a (insert your favorite drink) in hand. The reality is sales people often feel alone in doing what we do. There are days where we put on our Sunday’s best only to be denied. And the best ones are opposite of what I just listed. Often alone when cold calling, rejected, hung up on, oh and yes…even breaking down after pounding the pavement and out of answers. It’s not all roses, but this isn’t a pity party. Even though Sales professionals are movers and shakers, we are only as good as our last deal and as trying as it may be, it’s ALL WORTH IT.
Here are five lessons and takeaways from my toughest sales deal to date (a deal that took me over three years to close). My hope in sharing with you is that in the event that you need to dig deep and may be experiencing a deal (or even a project) that is testing you…that this will keep you going. Onward and upward.
It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Good selling.
- Pace yourself. That saying, “it’s not over till the fat lady sings…” well, a lot can change. The bell cannot be un-rung. That commissions check is not yours until you have earned it. Avoid burn out. Enjoy the ride and ensure that you have it in you to keep going…until the very end. Until the very end. It’s a marathon. Not a sprint. Keep your eyes on the prize.
- Know that you are great at what you do. Own it. Your prospect/ buyer may have a fancy legal team and more resources than you can imagine. Many times, they don’t know what they want or what they’re doing. You need to guide them. You are their advocate and #1 resource. Having this conviction is a must in everything that you do.
- Focus on your customer’s problem first and your solutions second. Especially in layered selling where there are many influencers or sponsors, know what each department’s goals are. Can you really be a part of their solution? If so, tell them how. Differentiate yourself from your competition who is likely talking price and product. Help them visualize your mutual success. Clients do not know how valuable you are until you show how much you care.
- Do not give up. Sometimes your customers will ask you questions and demand answers. You may have no idea what they’re talking about. Understand why it’s important to them, how they’re doing it, what are the consequences if there is no change. Go find the answer. Utilize your resources.
- Know when to walk away. It’s a lot like dating. You may not jive. If it’s not a good match, it’s not. You may not meet their requirements, and that’s okay. Don’t force it. Walk away. You will be glad you did.