Inevitably at some point during a sales call, the customer will ask, “Who else have you done this for?” What they’re really asking is why they should believe or trust you. This is why it’s essential that early in the sales process, you establish credibility.
There are many stereotypes of what makes a great sales rep. Outgoing, smooth talker, able to present their solution pitch flawlessly to the client. Confident – sometimes, too confident. You know the profile, right? But there’s a key attribute that’s not always associated with high-performing salespeople, and it might surprise you.
The success of a sales training initiative is based on multiple considerations as noted in my prior blog posts: How to Choose the Best Sales Training Company 4 Key Factors to Create a Sales Training Program That Delivers Results In reflecting on these posts, I quickly realized that that not all criteria carry an equal weight, and that the “X Factor” that makes for an outstanding training program is the facilitator.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella often speaks of how his career – and his company – have been shaped by empathy. He views it as a quality to be consciously cultivated, practiced, and applied – “not just as something nice to have, but as the core to the innovation agenda in the company.” He believes empathy can be a differentiator when working with clients. Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and understand their situation. It’s the capacity to feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. It’s not always easy to do.
How do you prepare for a meeting with a CXO or other important executive? A friend of mine who is a senior investment banker at a major Wall Street firm once told me, “I prepare for each meeting like it’s the Super Bowl.” My friend then explained the massive amount of time he and his research team put into preparing for each important meeting. No wonder he routinely meets with CEOs, CFOs, Boards of Directors, and major investors. On the other hand, most salespeople meet with key executives infrequently. They may even treat such a meeting as another demo or discovery call. That’s a mistake.