With over 10 years of experience as a professional sales person I’ve had the honor to work with a lot of other great sales professionals and sales managers.
Maybe it’s because I am a sales pro myself, but when I come across another one, I almost instantly recognize a true professional. Someone who has been in the trenches and who I can learn a lot from.
When I come across these individuals I do my best to learn from them and ask them for advice when I feel I am off track.
One such moment came when I was doing outside sales for a major plastics manufacturer. The situation was that I had been going back and forth with a customer and needed a little extra help with handling their requests.
When I took it to the President of the company (the sales pro) he said that I was going about it all wrong. Their request wasn’t necessarily unreasonable however I felt that they were simply trying to get more without any kind of bilateral concession. They wanted more for the sake of getting more.
The President told me I should be acting like their champion, not their enemy. I was trying to sell them, not help them.
This really hit home for me because I have always prided myself and worked hard to be a consultant rather than someone just trying to sell.
Well because I respected him has an expert in his field I knew that I had to look inside myself to see where I had gone astray and how I could turn the situation around to be their champion.
Obviously the next time I spoke with the customer I asked more questions to see where their requests were coming from. It seems that there were some issues with their account that I was unaware of, and that preceded my tenure there.
Once I had uncovered this information I went to work right away doing my best to ensure the same situation didn’t happen again. And keeping them abreast of my activities along the way.
Doing this built more trust in a shorter time then I could have ever imagined. All because I took the time to understand the customer pain, and prove to them I was their champion.
Why Be Their Champion?
Depending on your sales training methodology, you may use terms such as power sponsor, champion, or internal advocate. This is the person who will be your cheerleader within the organization.
Whether they are the one who makes the decision or has access to them, this cheerleader pushes for your solution.
Well this relationship needs to go both ways. You need to make it clear that you are going to fight for them. This should absolutely be the case.
You obviously want to get the best deal for your company, this is without doubt. But you also need to fight for your customers every once in a while.
What this does is make the relationship so strong that they know they can come to you when they need help.
- When it’s time for them to upgrade they come to you.
- When they need advice on how to implement a new procedure they come to you.
- When they are asked by a referral what kind of product they should use, they send them to you.
Being their champion creates a great amount of trust between you and your accounts because they know they can come to you with anything they need.
Build that trust and you will have no lack of internal champions yourself.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net