The Client Delusion
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Alas! The client-sales relationship. It used to be so simple! When I started, it was, 'I'm the Almighty Client, and you're just a low life salesperson, about as trustworthy as a profile photo in a
I loved it! There was a comfort knowing the Almighty Client knew it all and didn't want to waste time with my input (not that I had any).
All his requirements were mapped out on an RFP (Request For Proposal) that made War and Peace look like a tweet, plus a '120-slide-this-should-not-take-long-power-point-presentation' containing enough data to rival the human genome.
Was I intimidated?
Of course not. I had my 'techie expert' translating it into a workable solution. Me? I'd just sit back and do the numbers, my commission numbers, that is.
Once the deal closed, I was home free.
Things go wrong? Blame' techie expert ', blame the users, the client, global warming, the peace process, blame our DNA. Just don't blame me; I'm just the salesperson. It was bliss!
Well, those days are OVER. And I'm not liking it one bit. Who wants to hear the Almighty Client doubtfully say, 'With the market changing so fast, we're not sure about our future requirements? Could you help?'
Are you out of your mind? Don't you remember I'm a low life salesperson as reliable as the UK's weather forecast?
I don't want to be 'part of the process, or, worse still, 'share responsibility.
That sounds like consulting. I don't want to be a consultant. All the consultants I know are out of work.
I should be happy.
Clients now trust us, after years of improving our reputation through employing techniques such as TRUST SELLING, RELATIONSHIP SELLING, STRATEGIC SELLING (which all boil down to 'don't be a financially driven piece of manure SELLING').
And it's not only salespeople that have changed, so has technology. New products crop up so fast that yesterday's best buy could be tomorrow's Amazon Ring (remember? In 2020, those models were catching fire, leading to a product recall). Trust me, your client doesn't want to be seen holding that firecracker.
So here are three key areas where we salespeople should be ready to kick a$$, or as a polite person would say, 'bring our expertise and excel'.
Yes, MARKETING's beautiful people provide substantial stats, great graphs and excellent arrows (pointing nowhere). However, they're unlikely to get their designer shoes dirty on the street. Salespeople do. We get first-hand information on what works, what doesn't, how, when and why. We have more data than they have shoes. (i.e., a lot).
Gone are the days when we knew little to nothing about our products and services and relied on 'techie experts'. All we have left is that old joke: What do you call a 'techie' when he turns 30? Your boss.
Today salespeople know products inside out, left to right, up and down, and when required, we can even get into 'techie talk (yawn). This know-how assures the client of a successful project. Let's face it – nobody does it better than sales. (OK, maybe modesty is not one of my strong suits).
Remember that saying: keep your friends close, your competition closer. Not only because it's key to selling, but I've always thought that if things get pear-shaped, the competition is the first point of call. I'm not proud. I'm in sales.
In summary, the Client-Sales relationship has changed for the better. Sales are vital in helping the client find a solution, but we stick around and make sure it works.
That's enough sales talk. I'm off to get some coffee because things might have changed, but as Alex Baldwin says in the ultimate sales play/film Glengarry Glen Ross, 'Coffees for closers only.'