by John Ingrisano
We remember exceptionalism … and the people who do the exceptional.
We remember the bad stuff: Recently, while talking to a cell phone company representative, I was told I needed a ton and a half of special add-ons that would more than double the cost I was told I would pay. I spent more time deflecting aggressive sales tactics than I did actually learning about what services were best for me and my business. It was an unpleasant experience, at best. I will avoid going through it again with that company, and I certainly will not recommend it to friends and associates.
Fortunately, we remember the good stuff, too: When I was a young pup, a life insurance agent came all the way across town to talk about my coverage needs. He knew I was financially barely getting by. What he did not know was that two other agents previously had attempted to sell me loaded-up policies that I would never have been able to keep in force.
This third agent actually used his fact-finding information, listened to my concerns, and recommended coverage that was very affordable for me at that time. That first sale did not earn him a huge commission, but it turned out to be the first of many sales over the years.
My point: We do not forget exceptionalism. So, when it comes to your own business-building activities, here are several suggestions:
Ask questions about what the customer/client really wants, needs, and can afford. This is not a mechanical action. Your goal is to find a good fit between the customer and the product. (Do this, and you will be amazed at how repeat business grows.)
- Stop thinking of yourself as a person who sells a product or service. You are a problem solver (What should I get Dad for his birthday?). Your role is not to sell a product, but to help people and businesses meet needs (Will this vehicle keep my family safe?) and achieve their goals (Will this equipment cut my production time?)
- Recommend products and services that reflect clients’ needs, nothing more, nothing less. The true litmus test about what you recommend is whether you would want your own best friend, sibling, or parent to buy it.
- Do not calculate your profit or commission before the customer is out the door. This should play no role in your recommendations. However, if you simply do the right thing – practicing exceptionalism at every step – your profit over time will more than compensate you today and in the years to come. (You’ll end up having more repeat business, and fewer returns.)
The bottom line: Work hard, have fun, be scrupulously honest and exceptional in all you do, and you will make money and build a business about which you can be truly proud. – JRIJohn R. Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur john@TheFreestyleEntrepreneur.com