A big mistake that people make when it comes to offering solutions is not having a thorough, in-depth understanding of their clients before thinking up solutions. Every client’s business is going to run into different problems and circumstances that require a variety of solutions, but tackling those problems at a situational level makes you no better than a vendor.
“The differentiating factor between highly successful salespeople and the more average salespeople is the value they add to the relationship.”
A vendor is someone you engage to transact with minimally, one to three times at most, and there is nothing more to the relationship than simply delivering what the client has asked for. A partner, on the other hand, is someone you transact with for a long time because of a deep working relationship that is built on the client’s trust in your willingness, skill, experience and expert opinion in the industry to guide them towards their vision.
If you want to solve a problem, you have to address the root cause and not just the surface symptom. Many sales and account managers have KPIs that influence them to think short-term and sell everything to everyone just to make sure they hit certain numbers. However, that approach will only allow you to have three transactions with the same client at best before they come to realise that while you may be providing solutions that tackle current issues they’re facing, you’re not actually solving the core issues they have.
The moment they feel that they’re investing more than they should without getting the results they want, you’ve lost a client. You then have to start from scratch with client acquisition to hit your numbers. You’re going to burn out quickly this way. It is much easier to have a core base of clients that you keep in touch with regularly and resell to them than it is to constantly find new customers to sell once to.
In most sales industries, the element of having a core group of clients comes back to the approach of how to resell to them intentionally. That means offering up solutions that directly target their needs, wants, and goals, and not pitching everything you have in your arsenal, hoping to land a shot somewhere. You are neither solving your client’s issues effectively nor building a valuable relationship with them.
This is where the consultative approach comes in – again, how do you turn a one-off client into a returning one?
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Director Of Strategic Partnerships | Former Head of Account Management