This week I spent some time thinking a little bit about salesmanship, and what it means for a company with our values. I am often asked by colleagues “How can I contribute and bring in more business?”, expressed both as an aspiration but also as a concern. As a consultant, how does one sell something without coming across as a pushy salesperson and losing credibility?
”What does sales mean when you’re a consultant?”
First of all, I am very happy to work at a company where both the points are brought up. It’s a sign of a healthy culture that people want to contribute to the company, but also feel a sense of duty towards the client. No one wants to be peddling anything that might hurt that relationship. We’ve all had negative experiences dealing with salespeople that want to sell us some product we don’t need, often in predatory ways – but what does sales mean when you’re a consultant?
”Our top priority always has to be to build trust and confidence with our clients,”
The word “sell” sounds like it has nothing to do with engineering. By contrast, “informing” is a lot more neutral and “solving a problem” is something quite positive. When you’re a consultant, and you’re not selling a product, sales is really just about having an honest conversation with the client about what they need. Our top priority always has to be to build trust and confidence with our clients, and one way to do that is to have ongoing conversations about how their needs might have evolved.
”A good salesman is a good listener,”
If you want to do more sales as a consultant, it boils down to letting the client tell us what they need. We can help highlight possibilities and opportunities, we can share our observations and experience, but ultimately what we do is listen. A good salesman is a good listener, and we will never hurt a client relationship by listening to them and helping them formulate their needs so that they can move forward.
For those of you that speak Swedish, I highly recommend you take four minutes of your time a look at this video (http://altefur.serveftp.org/anki/KairosFuture.mp4). Perhaps a future service should be this “Thinking Factory”?
Is it fluff? Yes, indeed.
But is it serious? Yes, indeed it is.
Share your thoughts! Share your thoughts with your clients – it may help both them and the business. Share your thoughts with me, too – I would love to hear how you think we can best help our clients, colleagues, and community grow.
For more information contact:
Bengt Gustavsson, CEO Softhouse Consulting Sverige AB, at 076-883 24 69 or send an e-mail.