The ability to execute against client requests denotes competence, expertise, know-how, and mastery. Yet, providing an immediate “yes” to all client requests can sometimes lead sales professionals into a trap that winds up sabotaging relationships with clients. In this post, I explore the sales trap that involves excellent execution. To learn more about other common sales traps, check out this article on The Technical Trap.
Your Selling Skills Should Be Built on more than Execution
Sales professionals who build client relationships based on responding to their requests with outstanding performance can find themselves in an execution trap.
Consider this scenario:
You have a legacy program or solution in place, and because you have such a solid relationship with the client, he/she asks you to do something else. You are such a known entity that he/she feels comfortable making this request, and you respond by doing what is asked. What could possibly be the problem here?
The trap is that your strong client relationship gets diluted every time you immediately say yes. When you simply do what the client asks, you become just another order-taker. Instead of seeing great value in your ability to execute with excellence, the client may eventually realize that someone else could just as easily fulfill his/her requests. The client loses sight of your capability to offer an informed perspective. If you fail to strategically utilize your selling skills when a client makes a new request, don’t be surprised if the next move by the client is issuing an RFP for something you thought was a done deal.
Improve Your Selling Skills and by Shaping New Opportunities
To avoid the execution trap, you, as the seller, need to step back from the initial request and see if there is an opportunity to shape the opportunity, based on the insights you bring to the table from your relationship with this client, your experience in the market, and your experience with the problem that needs to be solved. You can improve your selling skills by being proactive in anticipating possibilities that the client hasn’t thought of, and help them understand the true nature of their business problem.
Benefits of Avoiding the Execution Trap
In today’s information-rich environment, buyers need guidance to make the best decisions. They may have unprecedented access to data and information, but they need knowledge and context to help them sort through the noise. Buyers appreciate sellers who can share something they don’t already know, helping them to sift through the avalanche of options available, distilling it down to what can drive the desired results.
So, when that long-time client gives you something else they want you to do, don’t immediately jump on it. Take the time to step back and evaluate whether or not this is an opportunity to employ your selling skills by offering some perspective, and delivering relevant insights and solutions. Only then will it be possible for you to shape this opportunity and set yourself up to create additional opportunities — and avoid becoming an order-taker.