If you’ve read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (available here), you recognize “Be Impeccable With Your Word” as the first agreement. We can learn a lot by applying Ruiz’s teachings to the art of selling.
Ruiz says, in part, that to be impeccable with your word, “you must speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.” And, paraphrasing, do what you say you are going to do.
So…how do we apply this to the art of selling?
It’s simple…do your account planning and pre-call prep so that you are prepared to bring value to the conversation.
- Be clear on your understanding of the organization’s challenges and opportunities, and on what your contact does each day in support of the organization’s strategic goals
- Develop and practice your initial conversation before you pick up the phone to call your prospect. Write it out and tweak it until the customer-centric messaging is clear and your business value proposition is straightforward. Review it with a peer to ensure that you’re delivering it in a conversational style, one that is yours, and is appropriate for your prospect (region, language of value, etc.)
- Use language that is business-centric, that makes sense for a senior business (non-technical) person. Use language that helps the prospect to feel comfortable with your expertise in the process of diagnosing issues and coming up with recommendations.
And…if you make a commitment, be specific – I’ll call you at 3 pm on Thursday (versus I’ll call later this week). When you make that commitment, put it in your calendar, with a reminder, and make good on the commitment.
Call promptly at 3 pm!
By being impeccable with your word – being easy to understand, focusing on the prospect’s key issues, using their language of value, and following through on your commitments, you will set yourself apart from most of the other vendors’ salespeople calling on the same accounts.
And, by following through on your commitments, you will lower the prospect’s perceived risk in going with you. Perceived risk is a huge factor in complex business to business sales, and while it’s not objectively measurable, it is one of the most important elements in the decision-making process. Buyers frequently will select a vendor that they believe can be trusted to deliver a solution that works, even if another vendor’s offer may be lower priced.
It’s a relationship-based decision, and we build that relationship by clarity with our words and demonstrating our trustworthiness by crisply following through on our commitments.
So…be clear in what you say, and do what you say you are going to do. While this is not difficult to do, our crazy-busy, interrupt-driven environment can sometimes make it challenging, both in finding the time to prepare and in crisply meeting our commitments.
Awareness is the first step to success.