You tell your clients’ business leaders that you have the best solution to their business problems. You bring in all the resources at your disposal to persuade them that your solution is X times better than the competitors. You wrap this up in a financial summary that shows a return-on-investment, a decreased payback period, and illustrate how your answer to their business pain is the best thing since sliced bread. Perhaps you have worked with this client for years, or perhaps, you are the long-shot and this is your first truly qualified opportunity to shine. Here’s my advice: Invest in your client!
If your client is a publicly traded company, buy their stock. You are now personally impacted to the success of their business. Are you certain your solution will provide a positive impact to the company? You will find yourself adding their stock ticker to your mobile device to track the success of the company. Your retirement will depend upon it. Let the client know that you are in it with their company for the long haul, and much like their executive team, your success is mutually aligned.
If your client is privately-held, then you need to get creative. Offer to reinvest a percentage of your profits into their business in the form of additional services or tangible goods (after approval from your company’s leadership of course and make it something you do not sell.) Perhaps, they would appreciate a donation to their charity of choice or a sponsorship of their next corporate function. It doesn’t matter. Get personally involved in their success and their corporate brand.
In my current role, I work on strengthening my company’s strategic partnership with a global beverage manufacturer. Not only do I own their stock, but I do not drink competitive products. I buy their bottled water, my children drink their dairy items, and I treat them as I want to be treated. I do not want them consuming my competitive alternatives, so I lead by example in my personal life – and my children know which company is contributing to their college funds as well.
Conversely, business executives need to start asking their sales professionals what investment they are making in their business. Many people imagine a mutually beneficial relationship, but it is rare that it is measurable and clearly defined.
Good luck and happy selling!