This post is the start of my customer campaign. I’d asked the question “what word comes to mind when you think of the word customer?” I had many one word responses from sales professionals across different countries, experiences and successes. I’ve chosen to use these words to create helpful posts that will support the success and growth of sales and account management professionals starting today.
The first word I'd like to tackle is patience.
I want to start with a measure of controversy and present the case for why patient practice beats persistence pounding.
Let me start with what I mean by persistent pounding.
We've all heard the great traits used to describe successful sales people. One of them is persistence. Persistent sales professionals are relentless and focused in their pursuit to get answers, to close deals, get through the door and you name it.
Persistent pounding is the sales person who uses persistence as his/her greatest weapon to get results.
I'm not here to criticise persistence because it is a marked quality we all need in whatever walk of life. I will say that it shouldn't be the skill and trait we rely on to get results.
Instead I want to talk about something many of us in sales don't speak about. That's practice or what I call patient practice.
Patient practice is the ability to learn and do things well over time so you can yield more consistent results later.
This is such an underused consideration because of the sales world we live in. We've got to get results today or there is no commission tomorrow.
When it comes to our customers they don't care what results we need. They care about what they want to achieve. No amount of persistence without patience will change their mind. If it does it will be out of the feeling of pressure. You may gain a sale but you may lose a relationship and then a customer for life.
Instead I want to advocate patient practice. A way of learning and doing that allows you to get things done by practicing the right activities and behaviours to see greater sales success.
Here are four approaches you could start from today to begin to action patient practice.
Identify the one skill that if worked on this week would give you the greatest result on effort. You can identify this by evaluating the biggest challenge you have today when working and communicating with your customer. Write them down. Then pick one to focus on.
Once you know what that skill or trait is. Research, look around your organisation, network and contacts. Who might be strong in that area? Why not ask your manager. Whatever that help is, get it and take action.
Break that skill into small implementable tasks or actions you can do daily and measure at the end of the week. An example might be that you want to improve your ‘influencing skills’. By the end of the week you want to have had five conversations where you’re practising a specific influencing technique. Every day you set up calls, practice the skill then evaluate if you achieved the intended result from the call.
Keep repeating until it becomes a part of your daily routine then move on to the next skill that will move you to even greater success.
What are your thoughts on patient practice?
Do you agree with the idea of persistence being too heavily relied on?
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Jermaine Edwards – Your key customer growth guide