“Always be helping” is a mantra all salespeople need to adopt as their own.
“Always be helping” positions you with your clients as a resource, a trusted partner, and an advocate. You’re not someone who is just interested in getting your own product sold or making your own monthly budget or selling the package of the month for the station.
This is a new concept — but why is that? Well, for years now the mantra in every sales department everywhere has been “ABC,” or “Always be closing.” You know you’ve said it, and you’ve certainly heard it said a million times. Probably so many times it’s become part of the way you do business without your even thinking about it.
How many times have you said or heard something like this: “OK, let’s go around the room, and you tell me what you’\’re going to close this week.” It’s that sort of thing that has us in the “Always be closing” mode. While helping your customers is a nice thought, it’s certainly not your primary motive.
Or is it? Some, perhaps most, of you reading this article — and those who are top sales performers — have always known that “ABC” isn’t the best way, and it is certainly not the way to long-term, sustainable billing success. So it’s not the way you do business.
In fact, while reading this article, you may even experience a moment of clarity, one of those times when you hear — or in this case, read — something you know to be absolutely correct, and you can’t believe you’ve never articulated it that way before.
You do, in fact, practice “Always be helping.” While you might never have phrased it that way, you live and breathe it every day.
For those of you who need a little convincing, and also for those of you who are already “ABH” true believers, I hope the following list will serve you well. Here are five ways to sell with the “Always be helping” sales approach, and see your sales increase.
1. Be there to help your clients think through tough decisions that are outside the realm of advertising. That’s right! You don’t always have to be there because of your own need to close a deal. Sometimes you should be there to help clients make strategic decisions that affect only their own business.
2. Pull research that will be helpful for your clients. You have an abundance of amazing research available to you that your clients may not have access to. Don’t just show them the information to convince them to buy something. Instead, be there for them with the research when they need it most.
3. Share relevant articles with your customers and prospects. This is easily accomplished by setting up a Google Alert for the category, then taking the time to review the articles that come in. It would be a waste of time to send every article, but when you see one you think would be helpful for your client or prospect, you should send it to them to reinforce that you actually care about helping their business grow.
4. Share success stories. So often success stories are used in sales to prove that working with your company can produce results. But while there is a definite need for that, another way to use success stories that will have your clients leaning forward with enthusiasm is to show them what sort of ideas and solutions are working for others in their own or similar categories.
5. Prepare. Yes, I have saved the best and maybe the most important for last: One of the best ways you can show a client or prospect that you are there to help is to come prepared with good information and good questions. Long gone are the days where you could say, “Tell me about your business” or “What’s your biggest challenge?” Use that approach and they’ll know you are just there to sell them something. Your ability to offer insight and discover marketing opportunities is what shows you are there to help. The more prepared you are and the more expertise you bring with you to the meeting, the more you will be seen as a resource to them and their business efforts.
In the spirit of this article: I hope you found it helpful, and of course, if I can be a resource, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out: @mattsunshine on Twitter!
Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy.