As a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent, I spend a lot of time helping sales leaders and sales teams make more money while working more efficiently. Anyone who has worked with me knows that the best way to do this is to look through the lens of your customer rather than your own. This is precisely the reason why top sales performers make more money.
If you look at things through your customer’s eyes, you get to view your customer and all the key stakeholders as people – people who have personal and professional goals; who want to be successful; and who want to minimize their risk for maximum gain. They come from different backgrounds and have different experiences that affect how they work with sales people, vendors, partners or trusted advisors.
Many times, sales people forget this and push their own agenda. They hear a snippet of a conversation and feel confident they can solve the problem. How is that possible? Well, they may have solved a similar problem for another customer or it may be exactly what their solution solves. But are they looking at it through their lens or the customer’s?
Maybe the customer has a problem or they have lots of problems. A top sales performer will know that they need to understand these business problems (whether they can solve them or not), the priorities (whether their solution aligns with them or not), and the business impacts (whether they can resolve them or not). You get the picture. A top sales performer will look at the customer in a broader perspective, beyond what they sell, to determine priorities and gain a deep understanding directly from the customer as to where they are spending their time, money and resources. Why? Because they only have so much time, money and resources.
When coaching, if a sales rep tells me what they think about a customer or a deal, I always say that I don’t care what you the sales rep thinks since you are not the buyer. What I do care about is what the customer – those key decision makers – are thinking and whether or not the sales rep has validated it with the right people.
When you work with a top sales performer, they never tell you what they “think.” They know that the key to their success is understanding the customer through their lens. And, they don’t just ask questions about the type of problems they can solve; they strive to understand their customer’s/prospect’s overarching goals and priorities to see IF their solution is a top priority for their customer/prospect. And, this is why top sales performers make more money.