In the world of sales, you have a choice to either follow the path of the Sales Dog or the Sales Wolf. The Sales Wolf aggressively chases their prospects and will do anything and everything necessary to reach their targets. They may be successful in the short term, but their tactics fall far short when it comes to building long-standing, trusting relationships. The Sales Dog, on the other hand, is committed to developing trust from the onset, working much more in partnership with the clients, rather than simply being seen as a simple supplier who can be easily replaced.
Historically, salespeople have assumed that to be the top salesperson in their business, they need to become more like the Wolf. This has often been problematic for those who simply don’t feel comfortable conducting their sales negotiations that way. Furthermore, the Wolf is not really interested in establishing trust; without trust as a foundation, it can be near impossible to effectively forecast or strategize, which makes business targets simply guesswork. Adopting more of a Sales Dog mentality where trust is at the core is far more likely to result in longer, more profitable sales contracts. Here are some ways in which you can unleash your inner Sales Dog!
Focus on the details
In B2B sales, there are often multiple people involved in the decision-making process, with figures quoted by the Harvard Business Review, revealing that the average is 6.8 people for every purchasing decision. Have you ever been in a position where you have been maintaining contact with a prospect and everything seems to be running along smoothly until you suddenly receive a call or email from someone you’ve never heard of before letting you know that they’ve decided to postpone the project or hand it to another supplier? This is a classic example of not fully understanding all of the key players involved in the ‘buying committee’.
Trust is a key component in successfully uncovering all of the people involved in the decision-making process and is ultimately the difference between having regular contact with an individual and actively being invited to form part of their internal process. By gaining this valuable insight, you’ll have a much better idea of the pain points that each stakeholder is facing, thus enabling you to ensure your proposal meets the collective needs of those making the final decision.
Being true to yourself
As we discussed earlier, it is a common assumption that the most successful salespeople are those who act like the Wolf, and will do anything and everything necessary to meet their targets, regardless of the long term implications. This is increasingly causing friction with those whose natural approach is not to behave in this way; it is also is a common characteristic in Millennials. In my book, I explain the importance of authenticity in the trust-building process; salespeople who act with integrity, are aligned with their own values and are always acting in the best interests of their clients are much more likely to attract the interest of their prospects, and continue to retain them long into the future. By demonstrating that you actually care about their business and genuinely want to help them solve their challenges, prospective clients are much more likely to open up to you about the nitty-gritty issues, which could give you a valuable advantage over your competition!
Become the added value in the deal
A smart Sales Dog recognizes the value they personally bring to the deal and will spend time developing and nurturing relationships with their clients. This commitment and dedication to establishing long term partnerships leads to a salesperson becoming a ‘trusted advisor’ to the business, taking it well beyond the realms of just a transactional supplier/buyer relationship. These deep-set partnerships are much harder to rock by competitors, even if they try to undercut you on price. Providing your client is gaining sufficient additional value by working with you and will lose much more than just the tangible product or service you are providing, they will be more than happy to stay put and pay the higher price.
Adopting the Sales Dog methodology is a sure-fire way to ensure you are focused on developing honest, authentic and value-driven relationships with your prospects, which will ultimately result in an uplift in sales, greater contract values, and longer-term projects. This will help to create a more structured and accurate sales pipeline so that your prospecting is no longer just a game of chance.