Creating an environment of trust and becoming a trusted advisor is one of the most important roles of a successful sales professional.
That requires a shift from focusing on selling your product or solution to understanding and meeting the needs of the prospect or client in the now, near, and far.
4 Categories of Organizational Concerns
I heard it described once like this; a successful sales advisor is like a hockey player headed toward a goal. You skate to where the puck will be, not where it is, and keep looking ahead to help your team or client move forward towards success.
While I’m not a hockey enthusiast, this made perfect sense. As leaders and advisors, we need to understand where we are, how we got there, and most importantly, prepare for what is ahead.
The truth is there are hundreds of things that clients and prospects think and won’t say out loud. In fact, the higher the title or role, chances are the larger the list of things that are keeping executives up at night.
Most organizational concerns can fit into one of four cornerstone categories:
10 Things Clients Are Thinking, But Not Saying
1. I’m worried about the changing landscape of the workforce and how to recruit and retain the BEST talent.
This is top of mind for every leader, how to keep a strong and deep talent bank and grow and develop your team.
How do I anticipate problems with my key staff and create an environment where recruitment is not an uphill battle? The answer is to increase employee engagement. Click here for creative ways to do just that!
2. I need you to see blind spots and advise me on options.
When you work across multiple industries, markets, and countries, you begin to see trends that your clients may not be keyed into. Providing a global perspective to a client (and prospect) challenge can ensure you are supporting leaders through muddy waters or helping navigate in unknown territory.
3. I want you to stop asking me what I want to do, and come to me with solutions.
Clients and prospects talk to you because they want you to offer value; this doesn’t change. What can happen over the course of a client relationship is the danger of falling into order-taking vs. taking the order.
Another way today that is to stop asking the client, what do you think? And shift to are three ways that I suggest you solve for this and why.
4. Burnout is real.
Work-life balance is not a real thing.
Especially right now.
More and more leaders are working longer hours, and more work is bleeding into personal time than ever before because we are always on with technology, and our offices are in our homes.
People are working more, no question. That, over time, creates burnout, and the effects of burnout impact every corner of an organization. Finding ways to make things easier, automate, create new systems, streamline, and use technology in different ways to reduce redundancy and old ways can deeply impact your workday.
5. I’m not sure we have the right people on the team.
If you're not sure if you have the right people on the team, or if you think someone on your team needs to go, you're right.
As a leader, it's your responsibility to yourself, your organization, and your team to get the right talent and coach them. If you're looking for ways to determine if your talent is the right fit, there are many tools that can provide insights into talents and how those talents speak to behaviors and performance.
6. I'm not sure the best way to measure success.
There are many ways to measure success and performance. One of the best ways is to start with the end in mind.
- What are you measuring?
- Why are you measuring it?
- How are you measuring it?
- How will you manage to do it?
7. I’m not growing enough professionally.
Leadership development and professional growth often take a backseat to the tasks and strategies at hand. Share webinars, white papers, podcasts, and books that you experience to help support personal growth.
8. Hybrid work is creating divides that I’m afraid will affect every area of my organization.
Yes. As a leader, it's important to consider that the culture you had may not be the culture you have now.
One of the primary reasons people leave companies today is because of toxic work cultures. The best leaders today are taking a fresh look at their cultural journey and putting plans in place to increase engagement.
9. I'm not sure how to reach potential clients when so much happens before they call a salesperson.
How business is conducted has dramatically shifted. Not simply moving from face to face to Zoom or Teams, the way we communicate, connect, engage and ultimately win business.
The buyer’s journey has changed and will continue to evolve. Taking a hard look at how you are selling even before someone reaches out to a salesperson is crucial.
10. I don’t know what I don’t know.
Trusted advisors who ask smart questions, understand non-talents, frameworks, and processes, and can help you navigate the world of the unknown are the single most valuable asset a leader can retain.
The other unmentionables often are direct to the leader and how you can help support their personal and organizational growth. The most successful leaders and salespeople I know have consistently focused on how to help their clients win.
Winning for a client doesn’t always mean you get a sale; it means that the relationship that you create will facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship, and most importantly, you will be the first call.