Salespeople Are Helpers Too
When you think of the world’s most important helpers or most helpful professions, you’ll probably never hear “salespeople.” Most people think of teachers, medical professionals, emergency responders, clergy, or mental health professions. Understandably so.
Salespeople… probably won’t be anybody’s answer.
But for the salesperson that believes in what they sell, their first priority is to help people. Not closing as many deals as possible. Not making millions of dollars. Not becoming a famous brand ambassador or something.
They want to help people.
Now, of course, doing some of the above means they can help more people, so that might be an aspect of their goals. But that’s usually somewhere down the line and part of the bigger picture.
For the individual prospect, it’s about helping them make their lives better with whatever service or product they sell. That’s why the H in Sherpa stands for Helpful.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see it that way.
Due to sales culture, bad training, and wrong mindsets, people are often distrustful of salespeople. They think they have one goal in mind and one reason for doing what they do: close the deal.
And for a lot of salespeople, that’s probably true. They take a job in sales just because they need a job. We’ve all been there.
But if you’re not in that position, the “I’m just trying to hit quota because I need this job” position, you can help change this view of salespeople.
When I talk about having better conversations and digging deeper into your prospect’s pains and needs, sure, doing that will make closing deals easier. It’s more than that though. It’s also about helping them make the right decision, even if saying no is the right one.
Maybe your service/product isn’t the right one for them, and if your motivation is directed towards helping them, you’re better served by being honest about that. Then you can work on pointing them in the right direction. This will build their trust with you, creating a relationship that can benefit you both through referrals or potential future business.
The best sales conversations take a holistic approach. You’re not just trying to get a yes or no, you’re trying to find the root of their problem, how they’d like it fixed, and how they hope it affects them.
That’s how you help people.
Take a doctor, for instance. If you come to their clinic complaining of frequent headaches, and they only ask a couple of questions and write a prescription for pain meds, yes, that might fix the problem.
But wouldn’t you want to know why you get them and how you can prevent them? I would.
So then you go to a different doctor, and they sit down with you and talk to you, even before they do any tests. They ask about nutrition and hydration, exercise, job, stress levels and management, and smoking/alcohol consumption. They go through possible preventative measures like increasing your water intake, meditation, earplugs for noise reduction, and so on.
That second doctor is trying to get to the root of the problem. They don’t just want to give you a bandaid, they want to remove the problem for good.
That’s what helpful salespeople can do for their prospects, and that’s the way we can change people’s viewpoint of us.
As always though, you do have to be careful.
For those of us that are eager to help, especially when we know we can, that eagerness can come across the wrong way to our prospects.
That eagerness takes us out of the conversation and into our own heads. And that’s when we lose focus. We might respond too excitedly to their complaints about what’s going wrong. We might phrase something a little too strongly when we’re setting expectations about the next steps.
These seemingly small mistakes can lead your prospect to believe that you’re just trying to close the deal. They feel like another box to be checked, another dollar in your bank account. And that’s when you lose them.
All because your eagerness to help was misinterpreted.
But if you’re genuine and authentic in how you talk to them, ask the right questions, and keep your focus on them (not you!), then hopefully you can avoid those mistakes.
More than anything though, it’s about your mindset. It’s about the desire to help other people, whether it’s from building a stronger business through a better website, helping them save more money with a new (fill in the blank) plan, or getting them into their new home.
No matter how big or small the thing you sell is, if your goal is to improve people’s lives with it, then you’re part of a noble and helpful profession.