GIVES - Immersed in serving value to Customers, without expectations
APPRECIATES - Acknowledges the positives in all sales situations
“Our guest for this edition of the Sales Marathoners (SM) Podcast, is Swaroop Shankar, Senior Relationship Manager, Rhino Engineering Ltd. SM Podcasts feature resilient sales professionals who have consistently beaten market odds. The idea is to learn the secret of what makes them marathoners in sales, who keep running.
Swaroop fits the typical marathoner profile. He works in the heavy engineering space, where budgets are big, sales cycles are long and stakeholders are many. It’s not a sprint, to reward you with quick wins. For Swaroop, targets have never been a problem, regardless of markets. Swaroop makes the heavy lifting of B2B sales look easy. He has a smile that even the facemask can’t hide. He is calm, relaxed and cheerful whether in person or on virtual calls. When he is not working on large, long cycle deals, you will find him listening to ghazals, watching streamed art movies or going on hikes. And he prides himself in a portfolio of fiercely loyal Customers. So, a warm welcome to SM Podcast, Swaroop”
Swaroop: “Thank you for having me on your show”
SM Podcast: “Can you describe your sales philosophy in one word”
SM: “Sounds cool. Please tell us how it works in your sales efforts”
Swaroop: “When I say appreciative, I mean that I suffer from an incurable ‘half-full’ syndrome. For me the filled portion of the glass is always an inspiration and focusing on it helps me make it full very soon. I look for the positives in all the dimensions of the sales situation”
Swaroop: I appreciate your curiosity in asking! How do you feel when I say that?
SM: Well, feels good. I like it. I am beginning to get a feel of what that can do to your Customers.. Back to ‘dimensions’..
Swaroop: Well, I find reasons to make my buyers feel good about themselves, about their position in their industry, about their RFP – Request for Purchase, about the larger purpose that drives their purchases.. So many dimensions.. So many opportunities to make them feel nice about themselves and their companies.
SM: Wow! “ What if a Customer tells you they’re going to buy machinery from competition, then what do you do?”
Swaroop: “I’m appreciative that the Customer is interested in buying machinery, even if he is presently wanting to go with the competition. I acknowledge what the competition is doing and unobtrusively build a case for how my product can best fulfill the engineering needs of my Customer”
SM: “Sounds a little utopian. Does it work in real world sales?”
Swaroop: “You’ll be surprised how transformative an appreciative approach is. One, it eliminates all negative energy. I don’t waste time arguing or proving the Customer wrong. Two, when you stay focused on positives, demonstrating value becomes effortless.. It is as if me and the buyer are on the same team, playing together to win over the problem on the other side. Appreciation turns potential adversaries into allies”
SM: “What do you do when external conditions are insanely tough as they are now? This is a question of particular interest to our community because all of us are working in impossible markets”
Swaroop: “Can I respond with a wisecrack? I believe that if the markets throw us to the wolves, we should come back leading the pack. I genuinely feel tough markets make our sales muscles stronger., make us anti-fragile to thrive in the face of unexpected shocks. Even in the current crisis, my appreciative mindset has helped me spot growth pockets where I can still sell”
SM: “Ok, let’s see how you answer this classic sales question… What’s your strategy when objections arise or Customer is adamant on a price discount?”
Swaroop: “Easy. Gratefully appreciate that the objection only means the Customer is choosing to engage with you and then reframe the objection quantifying all the positives to establish how you deliver superior value”
SM: “Looks like you have all the appreciative answers. Little surprise your competition borrows from cricket to call you the ‘smiling assassin’.
Sales champions learn early that an appreciative approach is the secret that wins sales marathons. Such mindset unlocks creativity and resourcefulness needed to surmount obstacles and objections with grit, instead of throwing in the towel.
PAUSE TO REFLECT: “An appreciative mindset unlocks creativity and resourcefulness needed to surmount obstacles and objections with grit, instead of throwing in the towel”
ACTION QUESTION: Consider any two deals in your pipeline. How can you leverage an appreciative mindset to be of even more value to the Customer?
The appreciative mindset is infectious. Everyone then responds with an appreciative approach, and that avoids or reduces needless friction. Even if there are some differences that need to be ironed out, the pressure on each other is felt as creative tension that plays out to generate greater mutual value.
Being appreciative gives the salesperson and the Customer reasons to feel good about each other, irrespective of situational priorities that may or may not make the deal happen. That unconditional positive regard for each other keeps the door open for future opportunities. And the marathon continues.
Related Reading: Mercuri Mail March 2011 Must Read feature on Happiness, optimism and sales results
Takeaway Quote: “Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it” - Ralph Marston
About the series: This is the 52nd in a series of 100 Posts that purport to build your #Sales Resilience.. as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.
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