I think it only fitting to start this blog off with a post concerning values. Far too often sales people find themselves in a position where they feel very conflicted as to whether they should “close the deal” and get paid or do the right thing and tell a client about a product that is better suited to them but is either out of the clients price range, or not available from your sources. I assert that it is always better to be open and honest with your clients at all times, and that doing so will win you far more customers than you will ever have to turn away.
As an example I will use my personal financial planner. She works for a very reputable and prestigious Wall Street firm and I am sure is under considerable pressure to grow her business. I met Pam not to long after I was married when I discovered that I was not adequately prepared for retirement, emergencies, or able to take care of my wife in the event of a debilitating injury or death. I was genuinely freaked out when I called her, and honestly would have done anything she advised based on the high recommendation I was referred to her with. After looking over all of my investments, debts and the insurance provided by my employer, she informed me that while I did need to develop a considerable sum of cash investments for an emergency, I did not need the large amount of whole life insurance I was prepared to buy. I insisted on trying to buy $500,000 worth, and she insisted than not only did I not need it, but that she was not willing to sell it to me until she felt I did. At first I was very put off by this, but later on it occurred to me how much money in commission and residuals she was throwing away, and I gained a tremendous amount of trust in her judgment and advice. Because of that one decision she made not to close the deal with me, she was able to develop a referral source that fed her deal after deal for many years. Even more important to remember is that I myself was also a referral, meaning she was getting referrals from referrals from referrals.
This kind of good will and reputation can not be created by a corporate marketing department implementing a good ad campaign. It can only be developed over time by consistently doing the right thing for every single customer. If you are inspired to always do the right thing for your clients and provide legendary customer service, you will set yourself apart from your peers, and people will remember you and your business. More importantly, they will feel comfortable sending you referral after referral.
I have seen many sales people in my day, some of whom made more money than me. However, I have always felt comfortable and happy to see my clients in the grocery store or at a ball game because I know in my heart I did a good thing selling to them. A wise business partner once told me “Brad, are you doing something for the customer or to them?” If your answer is “to them” you should immediately reevaluate and change your position… Unless you intend on being one of the people who jumps from job to job constantly hunting for the BIG commission job, and hiding from your former clients in public.