The Sales of Business Development
Once I was sitting in Las Vegas at a table and a woman sat across from me who was working in the aviation industry. I told her that the man two tables over, sitting behind her with the glasses and the $3,000 suit, he’s in the market for a plane right now. I told her his name, that he’s qualified, he’s in the market, his motto is “take big bites”, and he’s a personal friend of mine, and if you go talk to him he might buy a plane from you.
She said, “I ’m in business development, I’m not in sales.” I told her, “ That’s really sad.”
Everyone is in sales, even if you don’t realize it. How can you keep your job if your company doesn’t sell more products? This is what management wants from employees, to be engaged and look for opportunities for sales.
Here’s what you need to do — regardless of your “position” in the company — before, during and after the sale:
Before the sale.
It doesn’t matter if you are a salesperson or not, if you’re at a company, the way your wages are paid is because the company has revenue. Revenue comes from customers. Your job, whether you are the receptionist or in the accounting department, is to deliver good customer service. Traditionally other departments don’t think about customer service before the sale. This is the research and interest phase that customers go through where many times they don’t want to talk to a salesperson, they may have a question about billing or shipping.
Make yourself more valuable to your company. Customers consume a lot of data in the research and interest stage. There might be lots of questions and they might be on the wrong product or service. You want to be their only source of information. You want to dominate and be the well of data so they never need to go to another company for anything. This is how you elevate your value in the marketplace. If you’re not being paid what you’re worth — and, in the real world, you never are — it means you’re either underpaid or overpaid. You want to be overpaid and to be overpaid you must become the only source for information your customers need to consult.
This means that you need to provide people with information they haven’t even asked for yet — you want to predict what people want. Offer people more than what they ask for. Over-promise and over-deliver, not just under-promise and over-deliver as the old adage is. Deliver information in writing, not just by mouth, because people believe what they read, not what they hear. The more you give people, the less they look. Overwhelm people with your willingness to serve. More is better. Give, give, give. Being slow, doing less and being like everyone else will only make the customer want to buy elsewhere. The world is so competitive and there’s so many choices. If you make it difficult for someone they’ll send their money to someone else.
During the sale.
Customer service during the negotiation stage while they are interested in buying a product or service is where your whole focus should be to serve the customer, not the company. The sales process at your company must be designed to serve the customer from the first time they hit the website, to when they make the phone call, to when they walk through your doors, your job is to serve the customer. The sales process should be designed to serve the customer, not the company. If you have a sales process focused on “control”, “don’t give”, “hide information” — that’s not serving anybody.
I don’t believe you serve a customer until you close that customer. Closing is the highest form of service. I was on the phone a while ago listening to one of my salespeople talking to a client, and I intervened during the call asking the client how things were going. The client informed me that my sales guy was unbelievably great. I said, “Unbelievable? If he’s so unbelievable why haven’t you signed the contract yet?” I said this because I know until a client is closed, I can’t actually serve them. Nobody is going to go on the web and say, “The service at Cardone’s is unbelievably great — but I haven’t bought the product yet.” The only people talking about my service are the people who actually bought the product.
Your job in the sales cycle is to close the deal — customer acquisition. Make sure people acquire the product. So make sure during the sales process you look for indicators of the client being hungry, thirsty, needing more pricing, needing more options and needing third-party data. You must provide service to your customer. The number one way to provide great service is to provide customer acquisition.
After the sale.
I want you to speed things up here. Do not think about a day, two days, a week or a month later. Start thinking at the point of delivery. This is where people get terrified. This is where you find out if your company is legit or not. It’s what holds people back from pushing and being engaged after the sale. Are you actually over-delivering what was promised? If you’re not doing what you said you were going to do, you will avoid things after the sale. When you’re delivering the product, make sure you’re asking the hard questions.
“Are you happy, are you satisfied?” or “If there were one thing I could do for you right now, what would it be?” Do an exit survey at point of delivery. I want you to do that now, not later.
Take whatever you do 15 days, 30 days or three months from now and put it in the now. Think right now, right here. But you also need to think long-term follow-up. You have to find creative ways to stay in touch with people after the sale. You have to be committed to customer service to make this work. If you’re not thinking about how to exceed your customer’s expectations than you have a commitment problem. If you’re not committed, you’re not engaged. If you’re not engaged, you’re underpaid. The only way you’ll ever be overpaid is to become exceptional.
Eighty percent of customers say the company does not have the context of their last conversation. This is why you have to keep good files on people. What’s important to them, what are the kids names’? Where do they live? What did they buy last time? Why did they buy? What was their biggest concern? Was there something they wanted that they didn’t get? Really build a profile of that customer so you can stay in touch with them. This is the way to stay connected and exceed expectations. I can’t do that without notes. Take your game to the next level, before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale.
Whether you are in sales or “business development”, look for opportunities to make your company revenue. You will become more valuable, you’ll eventually start being paid more, and you’ll be making the company stronger. Too many people are too lazy and pass on opportunities right in front of them. They put “sales” in a box for certain people only. This type of think must go.
If you aren’t obsessed with growing your business, you will not be in business for long.