Recently I wrote an article about 2016 being the year of the digital detox-something I am certain is going to happen. I had quite a bit of feedback from people saying that they need to have their phone on all the time, "just in case". My question is "just in case" of what?
I can certainly understand the need for surgeons, emergency workers and in fact anyone on standby where a call may literally mean the difference between life and death, needing to keep their phone on, but how many of us are really in that space?
I had sales people say that if they miss a call they might miss a sale so they had to have their phone on all the time. Really? My view on that, having been in sales for many years, is that if you have a client who will take their business elsewhere simply because you aren't accessible every second of the day, either you are doing something seriously wrong or you need to find new clients in a hurry.
Sales is a relationship business. It requires intelligent communication, consistency, reliability, honesty and integrity. You build a great sales relationship by always exceeding the expectations of your client. This happens over time. A mature sales relationship is one where the client understands that you are a busy professional and that if they miss you and leave a message, you will get back to them as soon as possible.
In the message they will let you know if it is urgent, or any other relevant details. And because over time you have developed trust and built a relationship they will wait for your call. If they choose to buy from someone else simply because you weren't able to take their call, you never really had them as a client in the first place in my opinion.
The problem with many sales people is that they are always waiting for the sales call or email from the client, instead of proactively building the relationship. This means reaching out and engaging the client, looking for ways to help them, save them money and educate them about new products and services. Once again, if your relationship is a good one, they will want to know all of this, if it isn't, they won't want to know any of it.
What is my point? If you are a sales person, and you live in fear of missing a call from a client, or fear contacting a client outside of trying to sell them something, it might be time to rethink your approach to selling overall.
Now more than ever, we live with a world of choice and sales people in particular are competing in ways we never even imagined. Success or failure will come from deep and highly communicative connection and relationships that are constantly evolving.
It might be time to put your hand on your heart and ask if fear is driving your sales behavior. Fear that your relationship with your clients is not as strong as it should be. Fear that if you do the slightest thing wrong they will dump you. Fear that at any moment you could lose them and their business. Who wants to live like this?
If fear is driving your sales you need to look at every single relationship and look for ways to create that deeper engagement. To have more meaningful conversations with your clients and to show your commitment to them and at the same time ask for a commitment from them.
Fear is just a sign that you need to build better relationships and you need to do it now.