Up until the other day, any possible connection between window washing and complex B2B sales would have never entered my mind. That is, not until we were getting our windows cleaned. (When you live in NYC, you definitely don’t want to do this yourself.)
That day, I became inspired by something surprising: The value messages that were printed on the back of the workmen’s company tee shirts.
Here is what they said:
- Comfort your customer
- Tell the hard truth
- See the opportunity
- See the butterfly effect
- Systems set you free
- Be a coach not a manager
So that got me thinking. Many of the same things I coach around big, complex B2B sales are very similar to what companies are teaching their teams when it comes to B2C sales and customer service. This window washing company could have large corporate clients as well as individuals like us. But I thought it was amazing that they were so customer centric. So, what does this have to do with complex B2B sales? Let’s take a look at each of their values.
Comfort Your Customer
In a B2B sales world, we may not use these exact words. However, comforting your customer is more about understanding them and placing them first. Your focus should always be more about the customer – their needs, priorities and timeframes – rather than about you. Always find ways to help them be more successful.
Tell the Hard Truth
Absolutely. If you are all about the customer and want to ensure their success, then you have to be totally honest. If you do not divulge information you know will set the buyer up for failure and potentially create more risk for them, then you will most likely have an unsuccessful implementation and a pissed-off customer.
As a B2B sales person, I realize that you need to understand the difference between your potential buyers’ must-haves versus nice-to-haves. But if you know there is an issue with one of their must-haves, then you should bring it up with them promptly and deal with it. Your customer should appreciate your honesty, desire and ability to deal with difficult situations head-on. Then you’ll be able to suggest solutions that can eliminate any risk of a successful project.
See the Opportunity
For me, I took this message as seeing potential up-selling opportunities. However, it may be more about doing a great job to get a referral. Either way, they both seem to apply, especially since my upstairs neighbors referred me to this particular window washing company.
See the Butterfly Effect
The Urban Dictionary defines the butterfly effect as: “The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.” Wow! This, from a window washing company. Imagine how you would interact if you were insightful enough to see the butterfly effect? Knowing that a single call, presentation, lack of research, showing up late or early for a meeting, following up on time or not, talking in their channel or not – could change the course of your deal that you have been working on for months or years! Would you think differently and ensure your research and preparation was spot on to safeguard your potential buyer from any potential issues?
Systems Set You Free
For complex B2B sales, systems can help you research your potential buyer and provide ways to maximize your selling time and efforts. When systems are implemented cohesively with processes and methodologies − providing a place to store key data, analyze that data and allow you to execute based on the data – then, yes, I can see how systems can set you free.
Be a Coach Not a Manager
At first, this is the mantra on the back of the tee shirt that caught my eye right away. Much has been written about leading versus managing and coaching versus telling. There’s nothing wrong with managing, but B2B sales managers must be aware of their role in their team’s development. If the sales manager is a know-it-all and everyone on the team has to come to him or her for answers, then the sales manager becomes the bottleneck. In that situation, what’s worse is that no one learns and gets insights to get better at selling.
From Window Washing to B2B Sales
Kudos to this window washing company for instilling great customer-centric values for everyone in the company. It was impressive and inspirational, and seems to apply well to complex B2B sales. What core values does your company communicate on its walls (or tee shirts)?