In today’s blog I want to talk about the ‘how-to’s' around Adult-to-Adult selling, so you have a better framework for what you can do to counteract the parent-child relationship of the traditional sales model, and you feel a little more confident on what you can do to push back.
A quick recap from previous blogs you probably have read.
In the traditional sales model (in the buyer-seller dance) the prospect is the parent, and the salesperson is the child. That's a typical vendor-type relationship. Your goal is always to make it adult-adult, equal business stature, or you’ll never become trusted advisors. You’ll always be commoditized if you’re in a parent-child relationship.
Here's two how-to's today, because I get the question all the time, "Okay, that's a great concept, how do you do it?"
One: Think of physiology and tonality.
Your posture and your presence. Many Chicago salespeople come in with a kind of begging physiology. They come in seeming a bit meek, very pleasing, almost apologetic like, "Oh, thank you so much for your time today, I know you're so busy."
That is not what you say to a friend. Imagine a friend you have an equal relationship with. You don't say, "Oh, thank you so much for your time." It's like, "Hey, good to see you." We have a level playing field. If you're in any personal relationships where you don’t have that kind of relationship, you know that creates tension and conflict. It sounds so obvious, but when I observe people making mock sales calls, or I do a ride-along, it's amazing to me how often they fall into a more child-like appearance and physiology.
Two: Upfront contracts.
Setting an agenda at the beginning of the meeting, but having a tone that sounds something like this: “Hey, in today's meeting, let's just have a conversation, the point where from your perspective, you can decide if you want to take this any further, and from our perspective, we can decide if it makes sense to even talk to you further in the future. Because if there's not a fit, and we don't see a potential fit today, let's just part as friends. It's okay for you to say no at the end if you don't have interest, and I'm going to do the same. If I don't think we can help you, I'm going to be the first to say, ‘Hey, let's not waste your time or my time.’”
So having a mindset and starting right out of the box that it's okay to say no, and I might decide to disqualify this, that's adult-to-adult. That's an equal business stature mindset.
So think about those two, your physiology, your tonality, how you're carrying yourself, and then also, what are you doing upfront in your upfront contract to let them know this is an adult-to-adult relationship?
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