If you are in Sales are you a Giver or a Taker? Most in the sales business are Takers.
Sales Account Executives who are Takers (similar to, but not to be confused with order-takers) have an expectation that a customer will lay out a nice tidy outline of what they want to buy.
All that’s left for the Taker/Salesperson is to receive that information, possibly formulate some options and maybe cite a relevant case study or industry observation, and narrow the focus in order to “make the sale” to their customer.
In short, Takers approach a sale from the perspective of “Mr. Customer, tell me what you want to do/achieve/solve/develop, and I will deliver a solution (and sale) to you.”
A Giver/Salesperson is quite different…and rare. A Giver recognizes a customer may not fully be able to outline (or even know) what they want to do/achieve/solve/develop.
A Giver knows it is their job to understand their customer’s business–including their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. A Giver seeks to build a customer relationship that earns them the right to be a Giver–it doesn’t happen overnight. A mutual relationship build on integrity, respect, professionalism, and insight is critical.
During a recent dinner with a professional colleague, he lamented a challenge he faces. He meets monthly with a sales professional to discuss ongoing business issues. Concisely, he outlined what he seeks from the sales professional in those meetings, stating “I look to them to tell me what I need to know.”
He is, in short, seeking a Giver. Without question, he seeks that sales individual who will thoroughly know their own product, industry, technology, and solutions. But, he ‘values’ the sales individual who will proactively link that knowledge to knowing his business and his goals, needs, and requirements. Only a Giver Salesperson can deliver under these circumstances.
Mistakenly, some may see the Giver as nothing more than an example of the Consultative Sales model in action. The reality is that a Giver or Taker can each practice Consultative selling skills, including the mastery of question-based selling, and linking sales solutions to business needs—for example.
The true difference is that the Giver model of Sales is rooted in two distinct areas:
• “Seek first to Understand”
• “Discuss what the customer does not (yet) see.”
Sharpening the point, the Giver—from the very start—understands that the responsibility lies on their shoulders alone to nurture the relationship (this is not a one call close, nor a “let’s do happy hour” blitz) to the point where their customer not only welcomes—but expects—the Giver to “tell them what they need to know.”
Arrive at that point with your customers and you both win.