Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: Passion Sells

In a sales role, one of the greatest tools we can leverage is passion. A key question to consider is, "Passion for what?"

Many of us have passion for what we sell, and that's good. However, not everyone will share this passion. Most people we sell to will not understand the ins-and-outs of our solutions well enough to develop a true passion for them. We have, along with our competitors, muddied the waters. All of us tell the customer that we are the best at what we do, and the customer comes to the conclusion that all of us are really good, and pretty much the same. When that happens, they often look to the next common denominator - price - and use that to create the next level of differentiation. Certainly there are exceptions. Some customers really do develop a passion for our solutions, and that's great - those people become true advocates and net promoters.

Many of our customers and prospects have passion, but it's not for our solutions, or anyone else's. Their passion is usually focused on their own personal and professional life. On the professional side, their passion is typically centered on their business and driving the kind of results that delight their customers and constituents and make them successful in whatever way they measure success.

What if, as business development professionals, driving critical business outcomes that are important to our customers was our passion, too? Not a passion for the sale, the commitment, the commission, the implementation... but the actual result. Everything we do would be done to drive the outcome. The customer would see it, and our team would respond to it. As a result, our odds of success would certainly go up.

Consider a different type of job description than is typically used for business development roles. Today, a typical sales professional might describe their job in this way: "My job is to understand my customer's needs and position my products and solutions effectively, compelling them to commit to us."
Consider this instead:

"My job is to understand my customer's business and needs better than anyone else, and leverage my company's solutions to help my customers drive the critical business outcomes they desire."

This concept is the essence of what we call the Business Fit - how two companies, working together, can drive critical business outcomes for the customer. To understand and articulate the Business Fit, you have to understand the customer's business and get to a senior level decision maker who cares about these outcomes.

Nearly all of us would agree that passion is compelling and leads to superior results in sales and account management roles. But can we get there? Compared to passion for developing RFP responses, updating CRM, putting out fires, and sifting through hundreds of emails that don't apply to us, developing a passion for customer results is exciting and easy to accomplish!

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Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: Virtual Impact

This new virtual way of working is having a big impact on how many of us feel about our jobs and careers. So many of the things that attract us to sales and account management positions – things like networking, meeting and getting to know new people, uncovering opportunities to help drive...