As a sales person – you end up with a set of outcomes that are usually very visible to the organisation you work for. You hit target, you don’t, you cross sell or refer et al.
Unfortunately this very quickly determines if we are good, bad or indifferent. This also very quickly shapes how people define us – in essence, it is easy to be defined by our outcomes and what we do as these are the easy bits to measure (often both for the organisation and us).
However, good salespeople quickly realise that these outcomes aren’t the means of selling and, in fact, nor are they the ends. The ends of selling is actually to produce a client who is elated as a result of what we did for them!
This is an important distinction. Why? Because sometimes, creating this sense of elation is actually created by not selling someone something and, in fact, in rare cases, the act of selling them something can erode this value.
If I solve a problem through introducing a client to another of my clients – and don’t sell a single product of mine. Brilliant – I still have a very happy client. Whilst this doesn’t feature of a leaderboard – do you think I’ll succeed long term in sales? I bet I do – I have a happy client who will remember what I did. I trust this implicitly as I know it works – it is who I am. My clients then turn to me more regularly to help them – I become an advisor – not a sales person. My clients also know they are in my ‘toolkit’ to help other clients – they start working together. Again, I haven’t sold one of my products yet. I define myself by truly wanting to help my clients – not selling, this is just one of the ways I do this (sometimes it isn’t the best solution).
As a sales people, it is important to ask yourself ‘what defines me?’ – it isn’t outputs and results. Yes, we’re all competitive in sales (or should be) – we hate knock backs and love successes. But these should be the medal you receive after winning the race, the external praise and recognition. The real definition should be what it does for you inside when you help a client, solve their problem, capitalise on an opportunity – follow their journey to success.
I’d rather have a client thank me personally for helping them, than be top of my business’ sales leaderboard – any day. I am in this to help business people and be a ‘centre of excellence’ – the sales accolades will take care of themselves as I know what defines me – do you?