Today’s post is by Rich Blakeman of AchieveGlobal, An MHI Global Company.
In April I spoke at the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Here are two of the key thoughts that stuck in my mind after the event.
#1: Put Customers at the Center of Your Sales Efforts
We’ve emphasized this at MHI Global for many years. But, listening to conversations and presentations take place at the event, it struck me that this is the first year that nearly everyone spoke about the importance of helping customers achieve their goals. We've been talking about putting customers at the core of your sales efforts for a long time. In other words, I heard a ringing endorsement for the need to have a sales culture that’s oriented around the customer.
This is a major shift – and I’m in a position to know, because I've attended six or seven Sales 2.0 Conferences since their inception nine years ago. And I’ve been a speaker at three of these events.
As I recall, many of the conversations at those events were focused on us. We talked about:
- Sales techniques and selling skills,
- how we could close more sales, and
- which latest and greatest tech tools we should be using.
We were very “me” focused in those years. And it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to attend a sales conference and discover these topics still dominating the discussion. Yet, at this event, the customer was getting all the attention. I couldn’t be happier about this shift, and I think we should consider calling this movement Sales 2.5 (at least!).
#2: Your Intention Matters
What’s the other interesting thing I learned? I heard from some of the attendees that they felt there was a clear separation between speakers who were there simply to speak, and speakers who were there as fellow members of the sales profession.
In other words, a speaker who shows up to an event to get some stage time and jet off to the next engagement is not truly a member of the community – and people can sense that. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless their intention is to make an authentic connection with attendees at a peer level.
Personally, I feel that I am a member of the sales profession, and, as such, I truly wanted to be at the event to listen, learn, and connect. That meant taking time to sit and listen to presentations and chat with fellow attendees in addition to my stage time.
It was a great feeling to hear that validation from attendees. And I should not be so surprised, because I always try to live by the edict of one of our founders, Bob Miller. He used to say that it’s incumbent on us to “be the best examples of what we represent.” I am committed to promoting, enhancing, and developing the profession of sales so we can all live up to our fullest potential.