I remember sometime in grade school, after
getting into a little trouble with a teacher, that I was sent to the
principal’s office. Before I knew what punishment would be handed down to me
and a classmate, the teacher who was victim to our childish prank was able to
tell her side of the story. It was at that young moment that I first learned
the lesson that there are always two sides to every story.
Entering my career it did not take
long before I realized, especially as a junior level sales rep, that customers tend to
hear what they want, and will use what they hear to their advantage, even if it
is not entirely accurate. They have their side of the story and you have your
side. So how do you get both sides to meet in the middle?
All too often in sales we focus on the
task at hand: scheduling the appointment, writing the contract, going for the
close. We often overlook the various touch points in between. The conversations
over the telephone, the emails sent late in the evening, the voicemails
following up on a discussion point.
I have found over the years that documentation
with an action item is the key to keeping two sides closer aligned. A simple
thank you email listing the conversation points with a question in the closing
(the action item) offers you the control feature needed in sales. You will have
the reply to hold on to should you need to remind your prospect or client of
the details thus making their side of the story much more closely aligned to your
Remember, sales is about developing a relationship,
and as in any relationship there are two parties involved. Keeping the two
sides closer to being on the same page reduces stress on the relationship and
makes for a much more agreeable future and success.
In May of 1994 I began a career journey that has been challenging, risky and rewarding. I’ve held a variety of titles, but they’ve always meant one thing – sales. My best guess is that I’ve met with close to 2,000 different companies ranging in size from mom & pop – to – start-up – to Fortune 100. And, I’ve had the pleasure of calling many in each category clients. I’ve lived in Maryland, North Carolina and Florida before eventually landing in Cleveland, Ohio which is now home. More...