Focus on Building, Not Selling

There are too many organizations focused solely on selling in order to generate revenue. I hear stories all the time of how salespeople “cold call”, and in the first exchange try to get someone to buy their product or services. Please stop. This type of approach is archaic and insults the person you are chatting with. Spam is spam, regardless of the method in which it is delivered – via the internet, phone, regular mail, or even in person. So stop selling and begin building relationships and a repertoire with your potential clients and consumers.

The products and services you sell are a means to recognize revenue, but are not what you should be pitching. What you should be introducing to people is you and what you stand for (or in the case of a company, its brand and what it stands for). The fact of the matter is that there is way too much competition in any given industry to focus purely on the items you sell. The fact is that many of those items are comparable to or exactly the same as what your competitor is selling. A side note: if your company holds a monopoly, then you have a case for thinking in a more product-oriented fashion, but I still would not recommend it, because the likelihood is that you will have a competitor tomorrow.

If you approach your business in the fashion that the quality is you and your brand, as opposed to an inventory list that you have to offer, you will be positioned for sustainability and growth over the long haul. The reality is that you and your word are the most important aspect of your success. I always say to people that my handshake is better than any legal, binding contract out there.  I do not only say it, I live it and breathe it. Contracts are a necessity in the world we live in, but once fully executed, the paperwork should go in a file and you should perform at the highest level and beyond expectations, regardless of what the contract states. If you consistently deliver at this level, you will be credible and trusted.

The best approach that any new business person can have is to listen to the needs of their customers and clients and look for ways to provide solutions to their problems. If the product or service that you are selling does not fit with a prospect, do not repackage it to try to sell it to them anyway. That may be responsible for a short-term close, but it will most definitely blow up a long-term relationship. If what you have to offer does not fit with the person or company you are pitching, then state so. Be real. Tell them that it obviously isn’t a right fit at this time and it would be a mistake to pretend it is; that’s no way to start doing business together. If you operate in this manner, there will be opportunity with them in the future.

Everyone is focused on the close and the sale, and I realize that both are perceived to be imperative to earn a living and generate revenue, but the fact of the matter is that the money will come if you are constantly building relationships. Don’t focus on extracting money from a relationship; focus on delivering for one, and the money will follow. The phrase, A.B.C. is prevalent in the world of sales. It was made famous by the movie, Glenngary Glen Ross. “Always Be Closing”, the concept that you should always be asking for the sale or money, is misleading.  It’s just wrong, and will hurt you more than it will help. A.B.C. should really stand for “Always Be Creating.” Always be creating opportunities for your clients. Always be creating relationships. Always be creating credibility.

If you focus on building and not on taking, you will reap far more benefits and revenue than with any other method you institute. Build, don’t sell, and Always Be Creating.

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