Most salespeople are very understandably living in the moment. All their attention is on that next sale or those next sales that are occurring right now. Each sale has its own set of peculiarities—such as the buyer that constantly has to be reassured, or the one executive at your prospect company that has a cousin working for your competitor, or the company that always expects a certain percentage discount. Each sale in itself must be carefully worked, and an expert sales rep has always been taught to keep his or her eye on the ball, skillfully navigating the way around the barriers until the close is achieved.
But best salespeople are natively entrepreneurs. If you think like an entrepreneur the question becomes: is that one sale all you are after?
Take a moment to think about a company that you are currently trying to sell your product or service to. You might realize there are some longer-term goals you have that extend beyond that sale only. Here are some basic reasons to look at the bigger picture:
#1 Entrepreneurs Build Lasting Relationships
You’ve now spending the time to establish relationships with people in your target company. If you really solidify those relationships, they will last past the point of this one sale—and the groundwork for future sales will be laid. And it’s not just for that company; the people you are dealing with may not always be there, and they will bring you business from wherever they may land.
#2 Assuring Your Long-Term Place With the Target Company
Your goal right now is a closed sale. But what will that closed sale lead to? Or more accurately, what do you want it to lead to? How would you like to be thought of at your target company? As “what’s-their-name that sold us product x”? or more in the framework of “We can call [your name] for competent, reliable and trustworthy help on this”? An entrepreneur makes himself or herself invaluable, creating lasting partnerships that will pay off steadily over time, rather than once.
#3 You Want a Truly Happy, Satisfied Customer
If you take a look at the longer-term sales strategies as above while you’re in the midst of creating this sale, it may change some of the decisions you are making. At the end of your short-term game, you want a closed sale. But in order for your long-term plan to succeed, that sale needs to result in a happy, satisfied customer. That means the product or service delivered needs to be really right for the customer company. They need to be happy with the price they pay. Delivery needs to be timely. Any promises made by you in the name of your company need to be fully made good.
#4 You Want a Reputation for Outstanding Service
But beyond making them just a happy customer, you want them to have a great memory of you, your company, their buying experience and the service—for that will make them think of you first when they are in the market for an upgrade, more of the same product, or a different product or service your company can provide. An entrepreneur goes the extra mile and gives a little more than they expect: a bit of a better discount or better terms, a longer warranty, delivery sooner than predicted, or the like. Outstanding service is rare today; make it common for you and your company. The best entrepreneurs always include this as an ingredient of their operation.
#5 You Want Their Recommendation to Others
Referrals are the best leads a company can get. How are they made? By fulfilling the above steps, particularly 3 and 4. A single sale made won’t necessarily get you that referral—but the creation of a longstanding partnership certainly will.
Salespeople are entrepreneurs. Be an entrepreneur and always look at the bigger picture. You will reap the rewards well into the future.
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