Always Be Closing? (Part I)

I have been in sales and relationship management for the vast majority of my career.  It is something I have always enjoyed and something that has been a natural fit.  I enjoy meeting new people, learning about new businesses and business models and, most of all I enjoy solving problems for my customers.  I have managed relationships and cross sold new products into existing clients.  I have also been a hunter, identifying and winning new business for my employers.  With this experience in mind I wanted to share some unsolicited advice.

I have sold concierge services for major brands, I have sold consulting services, I have sold payment solutions, I have managed a book of business worth of $20mm and now I am the Chief Revenue Officer of an early stage startup.  These are all different products whose buyers have different dependencies and business needs.  The buyer of concierge services is often a CMO of a Fortune 500 company that manages a high value loyalty program.  The buyer of payment solutions is typically a CFO or head of finance within broad range of organizations. A lot of people believe that different products and different use cases require very different approaches to the sales process. Do they?

Whenever I work with someone new to relationship management or sales one of the first questions I get asked is, “How do we get the customer to buy?”.  That, in my experience, is the wrong question.  What we should be asking is, “What problem can we solve for this customer?”.  Perhaps the addition of another method of payment like PayPal would increase sales, maybe a new technology could save man hours and improve efficiency. Depending on what you’re selling there is always a problem to be solved, a competitive differentiator to be called out.

To be continued…