While February is the shortest month, it’s also the sweetest! Say what you will about Valentine’s Day, but we’ll take all the roses, candy, and extra love. But we have to be careful about falling in and out of love. (And no, we’re not rebranding as a relationship advice blog!) We’re talking about romanticizing the potential of clients. If you’re unsure of what that means, you might be guilty of it. Keep reading for what might be some much-needed tough love.
Tough love tip #1: People will keep using you if you allow them to.
The beginning phases of the sales process are not that different than dating. The prospect is flirting with the idea of purchasing your product, and you might try to woo them with coffee or lunch. But how long should the courtship last? We want to share a love story with you. This is a true story. There was a sales rep who was bringing a prospect lunch every Friday for three months in hopes of getting their business. Three. Months. The prospect was biding their time and giving excuses as to why they hadn’t sent any orders yet.
Our advice? Have a tough conversation, and stop bringing lunch. Are you a salesperson or a caterer? The choice is yours, but you are creating your personal brand and teaching them how to treat you. This story does have a sweet ending, though. After some tough love about ROI and personal branding, the sales rep quit bringing lunch. And in the first week without their regular Friday treat, they finally decided to send over an order. It was painful to watch this normally very confident sales rep be strung along by a prospective client.
Tough love tip #2: Plan for a longer sales cycle with larger prospects.
You might be thinking of a time or two where you prospected for eight months, 12 months, or seven years, and the client signed – we understand there are exceptions to the rule. Oftentimes, larger clients take a little more time to get on board. But know your value and worth. You don’t want to have to bring lunch to win the business. Win the business by being you. The benefit of working with you is YOU and what you offer, not the special treats you bring.
Tough love tip #3: Being overzealous can make you look desperate and can reduce the confidence prospects have in you, your services, and your products.
When you give special treatment to prospective clients for an extended time, you’re weakening your personal brand. It takes value away from your services and the products you provide. You’re also setting expectations that are not sustainable.
Nobody likes having tough conversations with others or even themselves! But in this new year, we hope you gain the strength to try. Start by asking a simple question of yourself…what is my ROI (return on time invested) here? How much is it costing me to go after this client, and is the payoff (eventually) going to be worth it? We tend to fall in love with potential and want to win so badly that it clouds our judgment. Allowing for a moment of honesty and vulnerability can keep you on the right path and grow your business.
We hope this wasn’t too much tough love for one blog. But hey, now you might be one conversation closer to a sale! Even if you don’t get the business, you’ll at least save a few bucks on those weekly coffees. When you give this tough love a try, please write to us to let us know how it goes.
Grow Big or Go Home!®