I showed up early for a meeting this morning so I had some time to kill. Not being one to pass up a chance to enjoy a good cup of coffee, especially when I don’t have to make it myself, I popped into a coffee shop next door.
While I was waiting to order, I overheard a man say: “Oh I see, so you will want a web site with an easy to use content management system that you can update yourself ”.
Clearly a salesperson for a local web development company meeting a prospect.
Still waiting in line to order, I couldn’t help overhear more of the conversation.
Sales guy: “ Ok so what I am proposing may be more than you need right now. My proposal was taking into account growth and giving you a solution than can evolve along with you. Can you tell me again about your business and I will prepare another proposal for you.”
Prospect: “ Like I explained last time, we’ve been in business for a while but we do need to control our costs. We need a website our current staff can manage on their own….”
This went on for a few minutes. The prospect reexplaining her needs and the sales person nodding in perfect agreement.
Now this is speculation on my part but this sounded like a second meeting. The sales person was presenting a proposal and the prospect didn’t seem pleased that he was trying to oversell.
Listening to this exchange I had a strong flashback to when I was that sales guy. I felt a twinge of sympathy for him.
Back then, every sale was mission critical. I had an office lease, employees to pay, leased company cars that one of my brilliant business partners insisted on getting, and way too much overhead.
I had to make every sale so that all the bills would get paid and maybe, in the near future, I could actually pay myself.
You see back then when I was meeting a prospect, I wasn’t really listening to understand what the prospect was saying I was listening to respond in a way that would help me make the sale.
So when the opportunity to shed my partners and all the overhead presented itself, I saw it as a door opening. A beautiful, lovely door to a great place!
A place where I can afford to listen and not worry about making the sale, but instead worry about understanding the need so I can provide the best possible solution to really help and create value.
A place where I can say to a prospect: “ I can’t help you with that personally but I know someone who can. ”
A place where I can sleep well at night knowing that authenticity and integrity is, in fact, the most important thing.