If there is a super power in sales (or human relationships more generally) it is caring. If you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors—and your peers—caring more will do it. Selling is about creating a preference, and caring is one of the most effective and most certain ways to do so.
Two salespeople are both calling on the same prospective client. The first salesperson is a terrible listener. Anyone observing this salesperson would recognize that they aren’t really paying attention. Instead, they’re just going through the motions waiting for their turn to speak. The second salesperson gives their prospective client their full and undivided attention. This focus makes the prospective client confident that she has been heard and understood.
The first salesperson doesn’t take notes, nor does he write down the commitments that he made during the sales call. Later, he forgets those commitments. The second salesperson takes meticulous notes and tasks during their meeting. She follows up, keeping the commitments she made. It’s clear she believes the prospective client was important enough to provide with what she needed with a sense of urgency.
The deal both these salespeople are competing for isn’t the largest deal they’re working on, but it isn’t a small deal either. The first salesperson emails the prospective client their proposal and pricing. He sends a follow-up email two days later asking if the prospect has questions or if she would like to buy. The second salesperson shows up, delivers the proposal and presentation in person, confirms everything is correct and asks to resolve any concerns the prospect might need answered before moving forward.
- Spending time with a prospective client is proof that you care. Presence is shockingly underestimated by salespeople even though it is given massive weight by prospects and clients.
- Learning your prospective client’s business is proof your care. Spending time with different stakeholders to understand how what you do impacts them and their work is further evidence.
- Remembering and keeping your commitments is proof you care.
- Small kindnesses, like picking up coffee and sending a thank you card, are proof that you value the relationship you have with your prospect or client.
- Finding an area where you can help your client outside of what you sell them is evidence that you believe the relationship is important enough to treat their business like you are part of it.
- Helping your prospective client discover and commit to a process that helps them get the outcomes they need is caring, even when it requires difficult conversations. The courage to have difficult conversations and to be accountable for hard to produce outcomes is caring in action.
If you want to create a preference, caring will help you as much or more than anything else you might try. Caring is a super power.