Does the word “salesman” conjure visions of a pushy, fake, overbearing, self-serving, slick salesperson? If someone asks you to deliver a sales presentation, do you feel burdened with responsibility too heavy to carry?
Let’s look at selling another way. Instead of selling, how about lending a helping hand to your prospective client?
Think of a project you’re working on with one of your current clients. No matter where you are in the course of that project — what is the overarching purpose of any client meeting? Isn’t it to take the next step forward on their project? In that meeting, aren’t you helping your client understand what’s happening on their project and helping them make wise choices moving forward? You’re focused on the client, their project and exploring possibilities. And, aren’t you comfortable when you’re focused on helping your client?
If you want that same comfort during a shortlist or sales presentation, then approach it with the same intent as your client meetings. Help your client take the next step on their project – which is to select the right consultant!
Changing your intent from selling to helping will require a 180-degree shift of your internal motivation. Selling is often about proving, qualifying or differentiating your firm. Helping is serving, and in business, you serve your clients all the time.
If your sole intent is to help your client, that intent will influence every decision you make during the meeting. What shall I talk about? Where shall I sit? Shall I show that graphic? The answers to those questions should always be based on, “What will help my client?” Get the idea?
Approach your meetings and interviews with the intent to serve, and the results will be dramatic. As you fully commit yourself to helping your client reach their goals, three things will happen:
• Selling will take care of itself; you’ll win more work.
• You will develop solid, listener-focused communication that will set you up for long-term client relationships.
• You’ll feel exponentially less pressured and more comfortable.
Bottom line? Selling is hard and can put people off; helping is easy and creates human connections. Sweet.