I think it was Tom Hopkins who said sales is “the easiest, lowest paid job in the world, or the hardest, highest paid job.” I’ve probably misquoted the great man but the essence of it is, in my opinion, completely true.
The reference, I believe, was towards hard work and having to deal with rejection. We all know that high activity rates tend to generate more sales. We also know that until you ask “the question” you’ll never get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Many people are so scared of getting a ‘no’ they never ask “the question”. Great salespeople will ask “the question” knowing full well they risk a ‘no’. And, rejection hurts…deep.
Because sales people are, of course, always looking for a ‘yes’ they tend to steer the sales process down the path that is most likely to get them an affirmative answer. Even if it’s not necessarily the best thing for their customer. I know; shock, horror!
This approach may, or may not, get you the sale. And, in the short term, everyone might be happy – especially the salesperson.
However, we know that in the mid to long term this is not necessarily going to be right for either the salesperson’s company or their client. Eventually something will go wrong, and then everyone dives into the contract detail and relationships fall apart.
I write this blog in the final stages of preparing for a big client pitch. The client wants to enter a new (to them), and highly competitive market with their existing brand proposition. We’ve done extensive research on the client’s behalf and we think they need to make some fundamental changes. One of those is to adopt a new brand for this market. And, to complicate matters, they love their brand – of course they do. We love their brand too, just not for this new market.
So, we have a dilemma. Do we pitch for what we think is right, or do we pitch what we think they will say ‘yes’ to?
We really like the client and the people we work with, and would like to work with them for many years to come.
Easy then. Pitch what we think is right.