Are you looking for love in Presales and Solution Engineering?
Then this is the right post for you!
In this article, we are looking at how your passion for creating relationships and being likeable influences your presales performance.
And how your need for approval affects your sales efficiency.
Need for Approval
We have all been told that becoming our client’s „Trusted Advisor“ is the supreme goal in presales to lead our clients and ultimately, close the deal.
Luckily, many of us get into presales and solution engineering because we enjoy creating relationships with others.
Delivering customer value and enabling our client’s to solve their problems is our highest good.
For most of us, being liked and appreciated by our customers is even worth more than anything else.
And it is fundamental to establish a close, personal relationship.
Without empathy and listening closely to our clients, we won’t be able to sell anything.
However, seeking for our client’s appreciation and becoming their trusted advisor are two fundamentally different topics.
The need for approval is defined as the degree a salesperson needs to be liked or loved by their client.
In a survey that has been conducted by the Objective Management Group, roughly two-thirds of all (pre-)salespeople were diagnosed with this behavioural pattern.
Dark figures are supposed to be in the higher 80ies.
As a result and to not risk damaging our personal relationship with our client, we are having difficulties asking tough questions and having tough discussions.
Having Difficult Conversations
Rather than having truly meaningful conversations, we seek first and foremost to be appreciated and liked by our customers.
A presales consultant who has a high need for approval won’t be able to push the conversation as far as it is required to make a difference.
When our job is actually all about asking the right questions at the right time.
And even more importantly, asking difficult questions our clients are not used to.
Uncovering the unknown and digging deeper than anyone else is the essence of every successful presales consultant.
And it is the essence of becoming our clients‘ trusted advisor.
But because we are scared of pushback and displeasing our clients, we are reluctant to ask the important questions or to bring up controversial subjects.
Instead, we are trying to avoid „No’s“ at all costs, trying to please our client throughout the sales cycle.
As a result, we keep pursuing opportunities that should have either been disqualified long time ago.
Or we keep stretching our sales cycles to the limits because we are stuck on a conversational level where we don’t make any meaniful progress but keep exchaning pleasantries.
Becoming the Trusted Advisor
Being liked by your client does not mean you have gained their respect.
But you need to gain their respect to become their trusted advisor.
And in order to do so, you need to challenge your clients‘ conventional thinking.
You need to push back if you are anticipating that your client is about to commit a mistake.
This is what consultative selling and solution engineering is all about.
It is not about rephrasing what your client has said.
It is about earning their trust and be audacious if required.
But if you are only looking for a healthy relationship with your client, you are ultimately jeopardizing your entire deal.
Being likeable is important and I don’t want you to become a jerk.
However, you need to be aware that your need for approval can stand in your way and negatively impact your presales performance.
If you want to become your clients‘ trusted advisor you got to have difficult conversations and push back if things are moving in the wrong direction.
In the long run, your clients will be thankful for your guidance and appreciate your honesty.
Whereas seeking to be loved causes you to tread water.
For further insights, have a look at our article about the „Yes Man„.