Tim Huffaker 2017

“Selling is not about the money.”... and you can quote me on that.  The most successful salespeople realize money is far down their list of priorities. 

Money trails things like service, quality, understanding, trust, relationships and loyalty.  Money will never be the most important element of closing a sale, and only finds traction when salespeople lose their focus on what the customer really wants.  In a single word, customers want help.  They want someone to understand their needs, someone who can help them solve problems, or meet a specific challenge.  They are looking for an expert who can help them be successful.

The following stories, from a few of my clients, confirm the notion that closing a sale is not about the money.

Derek shared the following comments about finding success with his customers.  “Help!  This simple yet profound principle involves discovering their needs.  While working with a client, I discovered that not only could they buy their product local, but they could also save two months of shipping time.  The only way I was able to discover that, was by starting to understand their business.  It led to an initial eight-thousand dollar order.”

Stan shared this story about helping a customer.  “The bank turned down a loan opportunity with a customer because the deal was in Idaho and out of the bank's lending area.  Rather than just telling the customer the bank couldn't help him with his deal, I got on the phone and located a local community bank in Idaho who could assist with the financing of the deal.   I called this bank and talked to a loan officer about my customer and his project.   I gave this loan officer the contact information.  I then called my customer and told him the bank was passing on his loan request, but I had another local community bank that could likely help.  I gave him the contact information and apologized for not being able to help with the deal.    After hanging up, I never thought I would have another opportunity to help this customer again.  About two months later this same customer called me up and asked if the bank would be willing to look at a deal closer to the Wasatch Front.   I was very surprised to receive this call after having turned him down on the out of state deal.    He told me how much I had helped him by giving him the contact information for the local community bank and referring the loan officer.  He told me his Idaho deal went through and expressed how much he appreciated my help.  We are now moving forward with his second loan opportunity.  If your organization can't help a customer with their needs, try to find an alternative solution for the customer.  In this case, because I found a solution to his needs, I got a second opportunity to win his business.”

Rorey shared the following story involving one of his customers.  “This company has predominantly used one of my competitors as their paving contractor for the last twenty years.  This year I have been able to book a couple of jobs and provided excellent service and quality.  They are now including me on all their hard bid jobs as well as allowing me to get involved with negotiated/design build jobs.  I have also built enough trust with them that they give me second looks on projects that I may not be low bid on.  My goal is to eventually become their preferred paving contractor.” 

You might have heard of Angie’s List.  Angie’s List built its success by helping millions of consumers find the best service providers in more than seven hundred categories.  “The power of Angie’s List is our reputation as a trusted resource,” says Josh Mayes, Enterprise Technology Senior Manager at Angie’s List.  He further said, “Since day one, our success has been driven by word-of-mouth and personal referrals.”

According to their website, Gephardt Approved provides a new and unique way to find honest and reliable local businesses.  As an investigative consumer television reporter for thirty-years, Bill Gephardt has become known as a tireless and dedicated advocate for Utah consumers.  Gephardt Approved takes Bill's dedication to consumers in a new, exciting and positive direction. Instead of getting involved after a dispute has occurred, Bill and his qualified team are now proactively investigating businesses, and highlighting and recommending only those who prove the most trustworthy, through their practices, policies, and positive track record with customers.

Consider those you buy from.  I’m sure they are people you have a relationship with and who have been loyal problem solvers.  While price may be important, it takes a back seat to service, quality and trust.  There is no loyalty in price. 

 John Ruskin, an eighteenth-century British art critic, writer and champion of socialism, explains it this way.  “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too little.  When you pay too much, you lose a little money…that is all.  When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.  The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot…it can’t be done.  If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run.  And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

You will become a more successful salesperson when you focus your efforts on helping your prospects and customers.  By helping them solve problems, whether the solution is your product, or referring them elsewhere, you will build trust and form a relationship based on honest concern, which will prove most valuable long term.