Are you bad at follow-up? Is your attention to detail lacking? Are you consistently unreliable when it comes to showing up for meetings and calls? Are you abrupt and abrasive?
Do you even know what your sales weakness is? We all have them. Some aspect of your execution that isn’t as strong as the others.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of but it’s not good to not know what it is. Mine is being organized...It has been a constant struggle. (But I figured out how to solve it.)
Maybe you don’t know. Hey, it’s possible.
But others do. Maybe an investor, or a mentor, or someone on your team. Or a good friend.
More to the point, your customers certainly know. If you’re spending enough time with them, of course.
The point is this: you need to know. Because the chances are that weakness is getting in the way of your sales success, and it’s causing customers to not get the benefit from your solution.
What’s the best way to get to the bottom of this?
Ask your customers.
Seriously. Make it part of the conversation. Work it into your discovery process.
“So, we’ve had a few conversations and meetings now. As part of my process, I’d appreciate your perspective. What should I be doing that I’m not doing, or not doing well?”
“Okay. I’ve got a question I like to ask. What could I be doing to make this easier or better for you? And please, don’t pull any punches.”
Deliver it earnestly. With a slight smile. Then wait.
If you’re doing it right, you’ll want to get genuine critical feedback. And the way you ask the question will encourage that. You may even need to push them a little, and break an awkward silence with a sincere “I’m serious. I’m pretty sure there are things I could be doing better. What advice can you give me?”
Delivered poorly, it’s schtick. And you don’t want that. But delivered with curiosity and genuine interest, you’re demonstrating a desire to achieve a better outcome, a better experience, and a commitment to your craft.
A good customer will tell you what isn’t working, or what bugs them, or why you get under their skin. The critique might surprise you. It might be more than you asked for. It might even hurt your feelings. But take the feedback with grace and appreciation. Say thank you. (Hey, you asked for it.)
And you should be thankful. Because now you know things you didn’t know. Like how you’re positioned in the deal. What you need to do differently. What kind of customer you’re dealing with. And what you need to do next.
This isn’t easy. And it may not be comfortable, at least not at first. But if you want to be good at this sales stuff, and if you want to waste as little time and effort as possible, and if you want to deliver on behalf of your customers, this works.