Do you know the surest way to get to know your client better? It’s not as hard as it sounds.
Years ago, when I had just been promoted to Program Manager/Client Account Manager, I ran into Rick the Boss in the hall. He said, “You’re in sales. What are you doing in the office?” He said his boss Bob had said the same to him years before. (Rick, if you’re reading this, I know you don’t remember saying it.)
It Changed My Career
But Rick did say it, and it changed my career. My new client was a Navy base, five hours away. A 10-hour round-trip drive would stretch to a 13- or 14-hour day if I actually got a meeting with anyone, and I didn’t want to make the drive. Not unless I could guarantee some sale or revenue out of it! I had a few ideas for projects but not enough, so I didn’t think I was ready for meetings at the base.
Excuses, But No Sales
I had reasons and excuses but I also didn’t have any sales. When Rick said, “What are you doing here?”, it shook me. I didn’t want to lose his confidence or support. Within the hour I’d made appointments for meetings and rented a car. I drove to the base the next day, using the five-hour commute to get my thoughts together, assemble what I knew about the client, and assemble the questions I’d ask to get to know my clients and their needs.
I Sold A Project That Day
I practiced what I’d been taught: I asked a question and shut up. I sold a project that day, because I did make the drive, because I had good questions, and because I shut up.
How To Get To Know Your Client
Months later it dawned on me that making a sales call only requires spending time with your client, having good questions, and being interested in the answers. Your questions are no good without their answers.
My sales career took off. Thanks, Rick. Thanks, Bob.
Who knew?? They did. And now, so do you.
What do you think? Does this way of looking at it, “be interested in the answers”, make your sales job easier? Please click “Comment” and join in.