Sales and Sales Management Blog

April 9, 2009

Keeping Perspective–It’s the Simple Things that Make the Difference

Filed under: business,Client Relationships,sales,selling,small business — Paul McCord @ 12:02 pm

Having lunch with Michael Schaffer, West Texas and Pacific Coast Regional Sales Manager for Suddenlink Business Services, reminded me of just how much it is the small, simple things that make so much difference in our relationships and sales.

Our meeting yesterday was our first.  Our goals were in line with one another and simple-is there anywhere we might be able to work together, and if so, how?  As is natural for any meeting of this type, we both had hopes and some reason to believe there might be some business connection-otherwise why invest the time and energy?  Mike was hoping that I might have use for some of Suddenlink’s business services or, if not, I might be able to help open some doors for some of his salespeople.  My hope was similar-maybe Suddenlink could use my services or help me make contacts with some companies that could.

During the hour and a half we were together, we spent little time directly discussing how I might benefit Suddenlink or how Suddenlink might be of benefit to me.  The majority of our time was spent discussing how the economy is impacting business and what obstacles that puts in the way of salespeople and how they can overcome those obstacles. 

Although it was not intended, the subject of our conversation was far more beneficial to me than Mike, as it allowed me a great deal of freedom to demonstrate how I can help Suddenlink’s sales team without me actually having to ‘sell’ anything.  All I had to do was ask some probing questions and introduce some new concepts to Mike that will help his sales team open new doors.  Even though I was careful not to give away the store, I knew I was making a significant impact when he pulled out paper and started taking notes.  Mike got a good appetizer, hopefully leaving him hungry for the full course meal.

I now have a great entre into Suddenlink and I gave Mike a couple of great, immediately applicable strategies that will help his team get into more quality prospects.  Excellent meeting from my standpoint. 

But that wasn’t really what made the connection.

Unfortunately, we had spent very little time discussing Suddenlink’s business solutions.  However, based on my experience with Suddenlink (they are my cable and home Internet service provider) and what I did know about their business services, I knew I could help them connect with some of the businesses I dealt with.

As we were wrapping up our conversation, I asked a question I always ask: “Who is your ideal prospect that I should be looking to introduce you to?”

Mike sat looking down for almost a minute and then, finally, looked up and said, “I had to think about how to respond for a minute because as long as I’ve been dealing with salespeople, no one has ever asked me that question.”  His tone of voice was that of complete surprise that anyone would care enough and be serious enough about introducing his people to prospects that they would want to know who would make a great prospect for them.

I am a firm believer that those we help will help us-and if there is anything we salespeople need its help in growing our business.  To me, the question is just a natural part of doing business-find out how you can help and then do it.  Unfortunately, so often we salespeople don’t do the little things that make the difference.  Mike reminded of just important those little things really are.


1 Comment »

  1. I too am a believer that those we help will help us. Sales people need to concentrate more on the little things that make a huge difference.

    Comment by Stefanie Hartman — April 17, 2009 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

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