“Why I Can’t Get No Sales Satisfaction” – Sales Lessons Learned From the Rolling Stones | Part 6 of an 8 Part Series

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Part 6: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

In Part 5 of this series, we discussed the importance of understanding the behavior style of the person you are calling on. We all process information differently, and being able to quickly assess how you need to present solutions in a way that will resonate with your potential clients will be critical to your success. This month, in Part 6, we take a look at …

“You can’t always get what you want … but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need …” – Let it Bleed, 1969

As salespeople, we are wired to WIN!  We are confident, competitive, and love the thrill of the chase. And that feeling when you actually close the deal … it’s like Christmas morning to a 5 year old! And then? Well, it starts all over again. We can get so addicted to “winning” that we sometimes lose sight of really understanding the needs of a prospective client and making sure that OUR solutions will fit their needs 100%.

For example, a number of years ago, a prospect called the company I worked for at the time and I was given the lead. The potential client was the owner of a Chinese restaurant with one location in Nashville. They had a budget of $3,000 and were convinced that they needed to spend money with my radio station to advertise their restaurant. Keep in mind that the radio signal in Nashville covered 8 counties and in this particular area, there were probably 4-5 Asian restaurants within a 2-mile radius. While my natural instinct was to sell the airtime, it took me 3 meetings to convince them why they would be wasting their money advertising with my radio station. What they needed to do was utilize a medium that was more targeted to their area (at the time it was the hyper local (neighborhood) newspapers and the direct mail/coupon companies). I still remember how hard I worked to NOT sell them something! But I knew that it was the right thing to do.

Is every potential target a good fit for your product and services? The short answer is – probably not. And while you might WIN the business, (because you are a rock star salesperson), long term, your WIN will eventually turn into a LOSS for both you and your client. So, the next time you are in front of a prospective client where it’s not a perfect fit, think about the following:

  1. Where are the gaps in the services I can provide?
  2. How big are the gaps?
  3. Does the prospective client realize there are gaps?
  4. Do I have someone in my network that I can partner with to provide a holistic solution?
  5. Are there better solutions out there for my prospect than mine?

If there are gaps in the solution you are providing or better solutions out there, this must be addressed up front. Having the courage to address these gaps and be there as a resource is the right thing to do, even if we risk losing the business. And who knows, what you perceive to be a gap, might not be a gap after all!  Clients need salespeople who have their best interest at heart and by addressing the gaps, you demonstrate this. So, you might not always get what you want, but you will get what you need – a relationship with a client (and/or potential referral source) that’s built on a solid foundation of trust and transparency.

In Part 7 of this blog series, we’ll explore a Rolling Stones mega-hit, “Time is on My Side!”  Stay tuned for Part 7 …