IF YOU'RE NOT IN SALES, OR NEW TO THE PROFESSION
it can be a bit overwhelming when you see great sales and business development professionals in action. Most often, they’re engaged with multiple buying influencers (evaluators, executive decision makers, technical influencers, coaches, etc…) in multiple deals at a time. In addition, most qualified sales prospects and sales professionals are just finishing or just beginning a deal and mentally, they have to be in the beginning, middle, and end of several sales cycles… all at the same time. Unfortunately, the negative residue and mess left after recently completed business deals or bad buying experiences can hang around in the minds of potential buyers. Result: the atmosphere in key interactions can smell pretty bad and result in degrading the likelihood that a win-win business deal can be consummated. What’s needed? A Sales Janitor.
A Sales Janitor is a cleanup professional and fixer of OTHER PEOPLE’S MESSES. Sometimes you’ve got to clean up a mess you didn’t create before being able to do your best work. The Sales Janitor is acutely aware of what I call “The Pinocchio Tax” ©: a subjective penalty paid by both a prospect and sales person due to a previously bad buying experience where lies or a misrepresentation of the truth have resulted in a potential or actual loss. However, the Sales Janitor knows that if he can do something for the prospect not necessarily associated with the sale of his company’s products or services, the rewards may be: easier access to buying influencers and decision-makers; achieving consultant vs. peddler status; and the establishment of competitive immunity at the beginning of the deal vs. brutal negotiations at the end of a deal. So what does a Sales Janitor actually do?
1. INCLUDES PRSOSPECT/BUYER HISTORY IN YOUR QUALIFICATION AND DISCOVERY PROCESS.
Ask 3 questions: “Can you tell me about your experience purchasing these kinds of solutions in the past?; Is there any previous issue, incident, business unit, or individual we’ll be working with that is, or has been impacting your business?” And you can ask your coach/sponsor “Who has a vested interested in seeing that this project or deal does not succeed?”
You don’t have to have the answers, but you may know who does. Take an authentic interest in people. In our profession, we interact with lots of people and may know experts in other companies in various fields that we can introduce to prospective buyers across the breadth of their business that can do the fixing for us!
3. PREPARES JOINT WORKING PLANS THAT INCLUDE THE PROSPECTS BUYING PROCESS AND PROCEDURES.
This will accelerate the speed of trust, and introduce predictably in the sales process after cleaning up the residue left by another vendor. Result: Sales Janitors can ask for what they want and have the moral leverage to get it.
One major difference between a sales pro and a rookie or non-sales professional is the length of time it takes to emotionally let go of the memories of a good deal gone bad. We’ve all asked the question: “So now, how do I explain this to my boss?” I highly recommend the truth. S**t happens. Deal with it, and move on. But most importantly, don’t leverage your previous negative experiences in future opportunities as they may sabotage your progress.
Christopher Bell, III
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