Serving others is the new sales. Unfortunately the old sales hasn’t totally withered away. Let me explain. I was introduced to sales in an era when understanding the psychology behind the sale was considered the key to successful selling. I was trained to manipulate prospects to “make” the sale and was good at it. Eventually, I taught others how to do this. As I advanced my career, I focused on ethical corporate behavior, such as customer service, employee benefits, and vendor relations by serving others. It took me some time to realize the best way to sell was to serve.
Serving Others is the New Sales
What Does Your Customer Want?
As a consumer, what do you expect from any provider? I’d guess the answer is something along the lines of service, honesty, and quality—not manipulation, hard sell tactics, or false promises. Your customer is looking for the same things. Whether you’re looking for someone to service your truck or marketing multi-million-dollar products to B2B’s, it’s not very different. People want service, honesty, and quality. They want their best interests considered, they want advice, and they want their problems solved. They want to be served, not sold.
How Can You Serve?
Let me first say why you should serve, and it’s not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because it’s often the best sales approach in today’s market. Consumers have a voice. They expect more. They want to be heard, and they’ll leave you in the dust if you don’t listen.
- Don’t over-promise
Don’t over-promise just to get a sale. Because when you under-deliver, you create an expectation of failure. Your customer will watch and critique every minuscule action you take. This usually doesn’t end well. It’s a negative drain on your operation as it spirals down.
- Take care of your customer’s needs
Don’t sell what you have; sell what they need, and if you don’t have it, get it. If you can’t get it, send them where they can.
- Deliver the best possible product
I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. Don’t reduce the quality of your product or service to meet or beat a price. If you need to reduce your price, cut overhead. And if that’s not possible, wouldn’t it be better to explain your product’s price once than apologize for its quality forever?
- Go the extra mile
Look for other ways to serve your customers besides your product and service. Where do you excel? What can you share? Conduct free seminars, open your conference room to your customers, hold an open house, write a guest blog, support a customer on social media. The possibilities are endless.
Who Do You Serve?
Embracing service as a method of selling leads to loyal customers, referrals, and brand advocates. People have always trusted their friends’ opinions more than advertising, marketing, or sales. And today, we’re connected to our friends more than ever. We know where they shop, we see the products our friends enjoy posted on social media, and we read reviews on Yelp. We know who our friends trust. They trust those who serve. Do your customers trust you? Do you serve or sell?
Are You In Sales Management?
Are you leading people or managing projects? Do you set goals based on activities to continue, eliminate, or improve, or do you strictly look at the results? Do you believe one sales strategy fits all your clients and sales team? If so, you’re walking the streets I paved, and those streets lead to disappointment. The good news is if you recognize these behaviors in yourself, you can change. I did. I eventually became a highly effective sales manager, and so can you. This workbook is a good place to start. The New Sales Managers Workbook
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