The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “R’s”

Reality can set in very quickly when you lose an opportunity that you thought was a “sure thing”. As a leader, you know how devastating it can feel, especially to the morale of your team and the salesperson who may have already been counting their commission. And, while the sting may feel unpleasant, especially at first, there are things you can do to recover, and in some cases, open the door back up to earn the business down the line.

Enter: Reach      Relationships    ROI 

Reach. In most sales and marketing circles, you’ll hear about reach as it pertains the number of people you can touch with a given spend on a given initiative. While that is the most common use, I like to think of it on a more personal level. Reach can also be synonymous with resonate. I’m of the opinion when you consider reach in this kind of light, you focus not just on the volume of candidates you’ve been able to touch with your efforts, but the profundity by which you’ve touched them. And THAT is what matters. Especially if you have courted them up to the point that they have discontinued considering any alternative providers to you, when they moved into the final stages of the process and they become the next probable prospect to cross the line.

But you’ve lost them. For reasons beyond your control, and maybe even beyond their control in some cases. This is where my alternative definition of reach becomes very meaningful. Why? Because if you have really focused your efforts on quality and not just quantity, if you have resonated with them on a professional level that demonstrates you care about how your services solves for their problem, even though you’ve “lost the deal for now”, you can bet when the time does become right, you are the first person they will call.

Relationships. This is one of the most critical components of your organization, internally and externally. I know that many businesses focus on the numbers, they have to, I get it. But I’ve heard it said in more than one business setting, “we have to value results over relationships”. You know what I say to that? HOGWASH. I’m not saying numbers and results don’t matter. Without them you can’t stay in business for very long. However, I will tell you that I believe the proper amount of focus on your internal and external relationships can enhance results and bolster numbers.

Let’s start with you prospects and clients. In essence, and once again, this comes down to how much you truly care about the people that are inherently involved in your day-to-day business. Any decent relationship is built on rapport-building and trust. That means you not only have to work at helping your clients understand you care about their situation, you also have to work at showing them who you are as a person as well. People do still buy from people, and if you want them to call your number when the timing is right, you should truly consider how much effort you place here. It will keep you at the top of the pile.

As for your team, the same is true. There’s an old adage about children, “they don’t care how much you know until the know how much you care”. I would argue the same is true of the people who commit themselves to you cause each and every day. What’s more, I would go as far to say that sincerely treating your team more like family will help you outpace any competitor that focuses on numbers and results only.

ROI. I know what you’re thinking – Return on Investment. Sure, that’s one use for the acronym. I’d like to offer another way of thinking about it, Result of Intent. Here’s the reason for the alternative definition. I believe that intent, especially inherent or underlying intent, can either be a foundation on which to build, or conversely, a slope on which to fall. As a leader, your intent is one of the things by which your team and your prospects will quietly judge you, and ultimately form an opinion about you that will be etched in their minds. Your intent will manifest itself in your mannerisms, your dialogue, your interactions, and just about everywhere else in your business life. They will show through whether you like it or not.

The good news is that if your intentions are “others focused”, if you consider the need of the client or the teammate your are considering in the interaction, that will shine through to them. They will feel supported, understood, and a solid relationship will build over time. A point of caution here, though, this is intertwined with trust. And we all know that it takes a lifetime to build and only a single moment to completely destroy. So, make sure your intentions are clear, consistent, and have a “raise all ships” component to them. They will serve you well time and again if you approach these relationships with an “everyone wins” philosophy.

One last point to make here. It may seem obvious, but I feel like I should say it nonetheless. If your intent is not focused on all the people in the equation, if it is simply self-serving or numbers centric, it is going to be very difficult to hide, and hiding it will likely drive people away. You will have staff attrition, you will lose prospects and clients, even if you are the lowest-priced provider. Like with any sincere human interaction, people will notice and often quietly distance themselves from you as soon as possible. What’s worse, is you may never know why they left.

Put people first, use the 3 “R’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat, should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.

To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 S’s – Style, Strategy, Sociability