A little while ago, I was engaged to work with a sales executive on many aspects of his game. But I soon discovered that his biggest stumbling block occurred long before he even had a chance to get his foot in the door. In fact, it was getting his foot in the door that was the real problem.
His challenge was personified by the head of a major beauty care company. My client knew his product was good and he was clear on his message, but he was bedeviled with self-doubt about his chances to even get a meeting, much less present his case.
Doubt Can’t Be Cured with Cheerleading
As his coach, the traditional way to deal with issues of self-doubt would be to convince the executive that he just needed to have the moxie to knock on the door and get that meeting. However, if you come to me expecting that approach, you will be disappointed. Because it doesn’t work…long-term.
My goal is to give people the tools to overcome their difficulties in their careers, be they salespeople, managers or executives. I am not a booster. I am not a cheerleader. I don’t believe that your problems can be solved with a pep talk. My coaching style was once described by a client as “Vince Lombardi…with a little bit of mom in there.” My clients show up with real problems (many of which I have to help them discover) and it’s my job to guide them so that the issues are resolved…forever. IN this instance, had I tried to help my client by boosting his ego, “You can do it!”, it would have been akin to my father, a doctor, telling his patients that they can “wish” their ailments away.
Strength in Knowledge
No, what my client needed was to approach potential clients with something they need. And to do that, he needed a deep knowledge of the client. So, we scoured all available information sources….the company web site, news articles, competitor sites, social media pages, annual reports…all to determine what the company’s goals were. Then we assessed what his company had to offer that helped THEM get to the THEIR goals, not to just sell his product/service. That match was the key to tailoring his messaging and convince the client that he had something worth meeting about. And it worked…he got a meeting and eventually became a trusted adviser for the client, establishing a long-term relationship.
So, just remember this…clients won’t see you to help you out. They only want to see you if you can help them out! Bring something to the table that’s worth their time.
What does your client need or want from you? Are you delivering it? Let me know in the comments or drop me an email.