Seek to Understand and Help, Not Dazzle and Dupe

"I can't get her to come out to lunch…"

"He won't come out and play golf with me…"

"If they'd only watch a demo…"

Are you one trick pony? Is that really all you've got?

There are two things that you know to be true.

  1. They have a problem 

  2. You have a solution 

All that's left for you to do is connect the dots, and some puzzles are going to be easier to solve than others.

Some are going to be so straightforward that you can't help but solve them. Sure, you accomplish something, but it's not that rewarding.

Others are more challenging. They're stimulating, they're fun, and they bring with them a greater reward. When the challenge and the fun are balanced, you experienced what is commonly referred to as flow. You want to spend as much time here as possible. This is where sustainable, profitable careers are built.

Then there are the behemoths. The white whales. The dream clients. Your magnum opus. These types of puzzles may take years of planning and activity—carefully  laying the foundation one brick at a time. Customers like this require master-level skill, technique, and patience. Like solving a padlock for the combination. 

The efforts are staggering, but the reward is even greater. You may pull off one or two of these kinds of deals in a career, and when you finally connect those dots, you realize that the effort was more than worth it.

But you won't make any if you don't set out with a plan and the expectation that it takes more than just the low hanging fruit to make a presentable basket.

No, she won't go to lunch, she's not interested in eating with you.

No, he won't play golf with you, he's got more important ways to spend six hours of his time.

No, they won't watch a demo, they don't feel the need to.

None of your customers do business with you because you occasionally buy them a free meal, entertain them for an afternoon, or make a great presentation. They buy from you because they have a problem, and you have the solution. Focus your efforts more on understanding their problems and the ways your solution can help them rather than trying to dazzle them with flashy promotional items and experiences.

Not everyone will be easily impressed, but if you provide the means by which your customer can take the next step toward their success, and can frame it in ways that they can easily understand, then you will always get their attention.

There's a lot more to selling than an expense account.