You Sold What? To Who?

Many years ago, I encountered this Dilbert cartoon:

It constantly reminds us of the continual balancing act that is undertaken in sales.  There is a great need to show good value to a client to both justify their decision to work with you (and overcome inertia where change is needed) and the price you’re charging them.  At the same time, you are making promises that set expectations (a rod) that you and/or your company/colleagues need to deliver at some point post sale (your back).

It is important to match a deep understanding of your own capabilities, those of your colleagues/company against a deep understanding of the client.

A deep understanding of the client is important as, whilst your product/service may actually do what you say it does, you client mightn’t be in a position to actually use/benefit from it.  In which case, you’ve still oversold the client and they’ve potentially paid for value that they can’t realise.  An example is providing customers with complex products/services that should benefit their business, but not actually teaching them how to use them properly (a smart competitor can often use this to their benefit!).

Never be fearful of indicating to a client that what they have now is a great offer or that ‘we’d love to work with you, but there’s certain aspects of your requirements we can’t deliver on at the moment’. 

At least, if you didn’t win them, but exited graciously, you have a chance to secure them when you can fulfil their needs and your promises.

There is only one thing worse than not winning that client – and that is having to face them every day knowing, as a sales professional, you let them down by over-promising what you could do or failing to deliver that promise.



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