Salespeople tend to be incredibly goal oriented. We are focused on hitting numbers–our performance, often our compensation is based on whether we are hitting our numbers.
As a result, we and our managers are intensely focused on those numbers. We measure ourselves based on quota attainment. We focus on getting the PO, getting the order so that we achieve our goals.
Somewhat incredibly, some salespeople even go to customers saying, “I need your order this month to hit my goals…..” Usually that’s accompanied by, “If you do, I’ll give you a discount.”
Achieving Our Goals Through Helping Customers
The problem is, it’s not the customer’s job to help us meet our goals. The only way we meet our goals is through helping our customers achieve theirs. If our customers aren’t accomplishing what they want or need to accomplish, we will not, and we should not, be expecting an order.
This seems so obvious, but somehow, too many salespeople miss this. Companies don’t buy to help us achieve our goals -- they buy to help achieve their goals.
I sit through deal reviews, watching and listening as salespeople focus only on what they are trying to achieve. When I ask the question, “What are the customers trying to achieve? What happens if they don’t achieve that?” I get blank stares.
Helping Customers Achieve Their Goals
The conversation always focuses on, “What can we do to get the order?” Sales people and managers look at convoluted strategies to answer that question; “Can we offer an incentive? How do we light a fire under them? What can we do to get them to buy?”
But the conversation never gets to, “How do we help them achieve their goals? What’s standing in the ways of them achieving what they want to achieve?”
Call me silly, but I wonder how much more effective we might be as salespeople if, rather than focusing on our goals, we focused on helping the customer achieve theirs? And through that, we will achieve ours.