When it comes to sales and marketing, there's a pervasive misconception that often undermines genuine connection and value creation: the notion that sales is about what you have to say, rather than what you need to hear. This morning, as I took my regular walk, I found myself thinking about this very issue.
The Audience-Centric Approach
First and foremost, let's consider your audience. Who are they? What challenges, difficulties, and frustrations do they face? These questions should be the cornerstone of any sales strategy. Yet, many professionals get sidetracked. They become enamored with their own presentations, their own solutions, and their own narratives. Big mistake.
The Power of Inquiry
Instead of focusing on what you want to say, pivot your attention to the questions you need to ask. This is where the magic happens. For instance, we can't assume that creatives, photographers, and graphic and website designers all have the same challenges attracting clients. New business start-ups have different challenges attracting customers than established businesses do. There is no one-size-fits-all all. Assuming otherwise is not just naive; it's counterproductive.
The Art of Listening
Once you've asked the right questions, the next step is crucial: listen. Truly listen. Don't interrupt. Don't formulate your next point while the other person is still speaking. Dive deeper into the real issues at hand. This is a skill that I've honed over four decades in sales, marketing, and leadership roles, and it's astonishing how much people appreciate someone with the ability to
The Endgame: Value Creation
Remember, sales is not about what you do; it's about what the client is left with after you have done what you do. When you focus on understanding rather than assuming, asking rather than telling and listening rather than interrupting, you position yourself not just as a salesperson but as a problem solver. You become a trusted advisor who adds tangible value to the client's world.
In an era where everyone is inundated with information and sales pitches, the ability to genuinely listen and provide tailored solutions is not just refreshing; it's needed. And in my experience, whether you're growing a b2b network or creating a start-up b2c business this approach is universally effective.
So, the next time you find yourself preparing for a sales presentation, I urge you to shift your focus. It's not about what you bring to the table; it's about why the person opposite has chosen to join you at the table.
That's where true value lies.
Share this with someone who talks too much and if you like this post consider subscribing to receive weekly insights into sales and marketing know-how to help you attract, keep, and refer more business.