In selling, one of the greatest tools we can leverage is passion. A key question to consider is, “Passion for what?”
The Problem: Passion Misalignment
Many of us have passion for what we sell, and that’s good. However, not everyone will share this passion. Most people we sell to will not understand the ins and outs of our solutions well enough to develop a true passion for them.
We, along with our competitors, have muddied the waters. All of us tell the customer that we are the best at what we do, and the customer comes to the conclusion that all of us are really good (and, therefore, pretty much the same). When that happens, they often look to the next common denominator – price – to create the next level of differentiation.
Certainly there are exceptions. Some customers really do develop a passion for our solutions, and those people become true advocates and net promoters.
What Is the Customer Passionate About?
Many of our customers and prospects have passion, but it’s not for our solutions, or anyone else’s. Their passion is usually focused on their own personal and professional life.
On the professional side, their passion is usually centered on their business and driving the kind of results that delight their customers and constituents and make them successful in whatever way they measure success.
What if, as business development professionals, driving critical business outcomes that are important to our customers was our passion, too? Not a passion for the sale, the commitment, the commission, the implementation…but the actual result. Everything we do would be done to drive the outcome. The customer would see it, and our team would respond to it. As a result, our odds of success in selling would certainly go up.
Creating Alignment: Passion for the Outcome in Selling
Consider something as simple as the job description used for business development roles. Today, typical sales professionals might describe their job in this way: “Our job is to understand the customer’s needs and position our products and solutions effectively – compelling them to commit to us.”
Instead, what if even the description drove toward outcomes?
“Our job is to understand our customer’s business and needs better than anyone else, and leverage our company’s solutions to help customers drive the critical business outcomes they desire.”
This concept is the essence of what we at IMPAX call the Business Fit – how two companies, working together, can drive critical business outcomes for the customer. To understand and articulate the Business Fit, you have to understand the customer’s business and needs and get to a senior-level decision maker who cares about these outcomes.
As an added bonus, nearly all of us would agree that passion is compelling and leads to superior results in sales and account management roles. But can we get there? Compared to passion for developing RFP responses, updating CRM, putting out fires, and sifting through hundreds of emails that don’t apply to us, developing a passion for customer results is exciting and easy to accomplish!