A lot's often talked about getting the right mindset for selling. The focus is most often on having a positive outlook, a winning mentality, or even a “don't take no for an answer” attitude.
But I've found that when you're selling consulting services (as I do) or other high value professional services (as my clients do) then there's a different, more important mindset.
I call it a “matchmaking” mindset.
The thing you must have in the front of your mind when you go into a sales meeting is that's it's your job (together with the client) to find out if there's a good fit between you and them, and the service they need.
What I mean by that, is that it's not your job to assume you're the right person, then persuade them to hire you. It's your job to find out whether you're the right person (and also whether they and the work are right for you – it's mutual qualification).
You see, if you go into a sales meeting thinking it's your job to get a sale, it affects the way you interact with the client.
Some people get too pushy. They try to manipulate and convince the client to hire them. Others get too subservient – desperate for the sale they accept things they should push back on.
In both cases, the client picks up on your mindset. They know you're trying to sell to them. So they put up barriers. They don't really trust you. They second guess what you say because they believe (correctly) that your primary goal is to get a sale.
In contrast, if you have a matchmaking mindset, if you believe your goal is to figure out if there's a good fit – and you're comfortable that there might not be and you'd walk away in that case – then they pick up on that too.
They work with you in mutual exploration. Psychologically you're sitting on the same site of the table. It's the same relationship you'd have with them if they'd already hired you and you were working together.
That's a good place to be – because it also allows you to showcase to them what it would be like to work with you. If they feel good during the sales meeting they'll assume they'd feel good when they worked with you.
Mike Schultz calls it “Selling as you serve” in his excellent Selling Consulting Services free report.
So often in my career I've asked clients why they hired me over the other consultants pitching for the business. And so often, their answer (often drawn out of them with the aid of a beer) is that it just felt right. They were more comfortable with me.
And I put a lot of that down to the fact that I developed this matchmaking mindset. It was OK if they said no once we'd explored whether was a fit. I didn't put them under pressure. When I made a case for hiring me they knew it was because I genuinely believed it from the diagnosis we'd done – not because my primary objective was to get a sale.
And paradoxically, that meant I got more sales than the guys who focused on getting the sale.
PS: Charter membership for the Selling Consulting Services online training program closed on the 16th April. It will re-open later in the year.
You can pre-register for when the program re-opens by clicking here.