Are there days you ask yourself why you do what you do? I know many of the professionals I coach will stop and ask themselves this question. Often when they are experiencing not so great results from a lot of hard work. We spend 1/3rd of our days at work, sometimes more. And that’s ½ of our waking hours. We enter the workforce when we are 20 (sometimes sooner) and we exit at 70+ (remember the ‘new normal’ with retirement planning and social security- don’t get me started) that’s 50+ years you devote to a professional career. God promises us 3 score and 10 (translates to 70 years in non-Bible math) in our life. So if we are promised a lifespan of 70 years and more than 2/3rds of that is devoted to our profession, shouldn’t it be something worthwhile?
I ask you these questions to get you thinking about what you do in sales. I was visiting with a group of sales professionals who thought by expanding their relationship with their clients it would appear as if they were ‘just selling more stuff’. Is that really what you consider a career of sales?
People buy solutions from people they know, like and trust. I don’t know about you, but if someone is ‘just selling something’ they don’t fit into the ‘know, like and trust’ category. There are a few really smart people I know that are always seeking innovation. They adopt new habits, buy new technology and hire the best service providers. I call them when I am looking for a solution. I do this because I – like most business owners – recognize the value in a referral over just googling someone or something. If I am looking for a product that I can’t find out about through these smart people I hit the internet and then go straight to product reviews by people.
How to become that smart person? We must learn more, ask more, absorb more. Curiosity is your friend. Seek out what else your client is working on besides the project you are assisting them with. Ask them who impresses them in the professionals they work with. Meet more smart people. Intelligence, like success, happens by osmosis. You hang around smart people and you become smart, just like hanging around successful people brings you success. Hang around with ordinary people and remain ordinary. If you do not bring innovative solutions to your clients, they will not think of you when they need problems solved. If they aren’t telling us what they need from us for extraordinary value, we remain a vendor, not a trusted advisor.
So why do you care if you get called with a problem needing a solution? Gaining referrals means we must be placing ‘emotional deposits’ into the referral bank account. If you are not giving referrals, you will not receive referrals. Imagine an ‘insufficient funds’ rating on your referral bank balance. That’s why you care.
To get referred we must be the smart person that provides solutions. This means we must be referable and we must give referrals to other extraordinary people. Ordinary people don’t get referred. Extraordinary people do.
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