Selling and consulting are more than just accomplishing a singular goal. They are about managing relationships so that you know you are delivering solutions that will impact your client’s business. It is also about keeping that relationship as one of value to you and treating it with respect. Below, I list four skills I believe are paramount to effective account management:
Be a great listener. Not peripheral listening but genuine heartfelt listening. Being genuinely curious makes a difference, it affirms who your speaking with. When people know you are listening, they are likely to tell you more meaty details. From that, you can make recommendations that far outpace those of your competitors.
Find the Pain and Stay In It
As I wrote a previously, finding a client’s pain BEFORE you begin your recommendation process is critical. Using probing questions, find the pain and stay in it. Size the problem your client faces to drive the urgency of your solution.
Show Your Math
When presenting your solutions, check in and see if you are the only person in the room understanding them. If so, you haven’t shown your math in a way that let’s them know how you got there. Start your recommendation with what your client said was their most important objective. Then, follow it with what they said was the barrier to achieving their objective. Next, lay out your solution. Now you have walked them through how you got to this point and they’ll be more likely to be on board. Show your math…it makes a difference.
Meet All the Decision Makers
Some people are decision makers….others are decision influencers. Many times, you’ll be spending a lot of time with the influencer but never meeting with the people who have the authority to accept your recommendations. To lock in your solution, skill #4 is to meet everyone involved in making the decision to accept your idea. See them one on one. You need to establish a relationship with them so that you become their trusted adviser, not just the vendor the influencer recommended. Decision makers know people you don’t and they’ll refer you to them if you treat them right.
Try it and let me know, enjoy the 4th!!