Ethics. I think it’s a common buzzword that’s misrepresented far too much by far too many companies. Have you ever bought something with great anticipation only to be left feeling upset and deceived? Maybe it’s a new car. You feel great until you receive that first invoice, right? Until you see all those hidden fees and add-ons. What the heck is ‘Rust Proofing,’ anyway? So I have to pay extra just so my new car won’t rust? Seems like that would be a standard feature, but actually it’s just something that increases my monthly payment – something the salesman never discussed with me during the purchase. Thanks for the upfront honesty, guy. How very ethical of you. I’m just looking for a little transparency. Is that too much to ask?
How about software for business? You purchase software with great expectations created by the sales person who claims it’s “your all in one solution” only to find that it doesn’t do everything that you had been told it could do. How does this leave you feeling? Misled? I’m sure most of us have experienced this scenario at some point. It leaves me wondering, why do so many software companies believe they can get away with this? They must know that eventually the truth is going to come out, so why do it in the first place?
Have you ever said yes to someone when really you meant no? Why is no such a hard word to use? My favorite word to hear as a salesperson, obviously is yes, but my favorite word to use is no. Because I think no generates more trust. No means I’m not trying to sell to you. I’m actually listening and trying to achieve your goals.
If that’s the case, then why do so many companies struggle with saying no? Probably because salespeople feel pressured to hit their numbers in the short term. Closing sales is engrained in them, and what makes them good at what they do. But I think what makes a salesperson great is someone who isn’t afraid to use the word no. In my experience, most times the no isn’t a deal breaker anyway. Great companies get that, too. They know they shouldn’t close a sale for the sake of closing. They believe they should enter into a partnership that will service both parties well for many years, because that means success for everyone.
By selling with honesty and integrity I also believe that salespeople will more naturally hit their numbers and even exceed them. You may miss out on a short term deal, but you’ll get way more long term successful deals as a result, and you’ll probably even get great references out of them, too, leading to the next big sale. Anything other than honesty throughout the process is clearly a short-sighted approach.
As the software industry moves towards Software as a Service there’s bound to be an obvious realization that this old-school way of selling is no longer acceptable. At Helm, we look at each new prospect as a potential partnership, not just a subscriber or a number. We both have the same common goal when we sell: your success. In order for any SaaS-based company to succeed we completely rely on our customers’ success with our product, because if they’re unhappy, they can just leave – at any time. They can also give us a lousy reference, too. At Helm the power is where it always should be, with you, our customer. So next time you hear the word no from a sales person, remember, he’s not selling to you – he’s trying to make you successful – and you should listen to him.