A star salesman; Overachieved targets year on year and collected all the trophies and awards there were. Hefty bonuses lined your pockets and confidence was always sky high. You felt like you could sell anything there is to sell in the world. Since not a lot of people possess this quality, you decided to work for yourself. You started a company with a great product and assumed that you were able to sell someone else’s mediocre product very well, so it should be much easier for you to sell your own top of the line product. You made the first call, then second and then so on and so forth. In coming weeks, you had several meetings. One after another, all contacts were explored and your contacts’ contacts were explore. Something went wrong.
Where did you go wrong?
Position vs Person
Your position in a large company gave you an intangible power. When you sat in front of a client, he did not see you sitting alone. He saw your entire company sitting behind you and supporting the commitments you made. Every statement of yours was backed by years of success of the company. That’s why you were able to sell even a mediocre product so well. No-one is taking away the fact that you were much better at that than many others; however you misconstrued such success as personal achievement rather than as an organizational feat.
Without the backing of the company and the brand, you are reduced to a person. Ofcourse due to the grooming and network you made, it was easier for you to secure meetings as compared to an inexperienced entrepreneur; but rest of the battle you have to win on your own.
Thousand mile journey starts…..
Yes, you have to take that first step. Even the large corporate that you worked for started as two people sitting in a garage, bootstrapping their way up. Do not push for quick wins. You have to focus on building personal connects and give repeated assurance that you will not fold up leaving your customers hanging. Great products require excellent relationship management as much as they require constant evolution and a winning sales pitch.
Your customers are counting on you. Specially now, since they took a bet on your jobs by going with you and not with an established player in same product category. This is more than sales. This is about taking responsibility. Deliver a great product or service everytime without fail. This will help people take a call on you’re a second time and many more after that. It will also help you generate more business since a satisfied client is a walking advertisement.
It’s the person in you
When you enter into a meeting, it’s not you alone who walks in. It’s your years of upbringing, values, education and though who walk in with you. For the first time in life, only who you are really matters. Look into eyes of the person and tell him the truth. Share your challenges with them. Even if you are not able to close business with them, thank them for their time and wish that you will be able to work together in future.
When you earlier went for meetings, the organisation had already given you a lot of information and insights into customer behavior. Did you ever wonder how did they do it? Large organisations everywhere work on a good CRM tool. This CRM tool throws out valuable information about customer buying behavior and helps predict the pattern. This information is constantly fed into you and you subconsciously use this information to close a sale.
Invest into a good CRM today so that you build the same ecosystem over the years and are prepared to stand against a large competitor by knowing something about the customer that they know nothing about.
At the end of the day, the position is just a position, a title is just a title, and those things come and go. It’s really your essence and your values that are important. Queen Rania of Jordan