Will Petruski is the Vice President of Sales for myGreenlight, overseeing all B2B and channel activities for the organization.
First, an introduction: I’ve been the Vice President of Sales at myGreenlight for 5 months, arriving by way of several well-respected organizations such as SkillSoft, The Economist, The New York Institute of Finance, and a high-profile Chicago-based start-up that was notable for having been cofounded by three Nobel Prize winners. Unfortunately, the closest I ever got to meaningful interaction with any of them was the time one said hello, before kindly asking me to fetch him a cup of coffee. (And yes, he used the word “fetch.”) My goal with my monthly post is to create a go-to sales forum for proud members of our elite tribe. Let’s face it, we’re different than most. We are the wealth-creators for our companies and with that comes challenges and pressures that only someone “on the inside” can relate to.
With Q4 looming, it is a perfect time to consider the strength and depth of our client relationships and more importantly, how to elevate them. Effective selling is not a singular event, but rather the result of an ongoing process of building trust. While it has always been the responsibility of strategic salespeople to illuminate the interlock between your company’s products/services and your clients’ business imperatives, the seller/buyer relationship has also become a personal journey of far greater complexity.
Most would agree, in this economy, very few sizable deals are struck without complete trust having been established between provider and client. This level of trust goes far beyond being perceived as reliable. Consider what it would feel like to put your own professional reputation and career trajectory at risk with a large-scale purchase. What level of personal trust would you require before making your decision?
In a compelling article from November 2010, the Harvard Business Publishing blogger Michael Schrage posed a simple challenge, in writing about the impact of information asymmetry. He asked readers to consider which clients were most profitable – “not the biggest, not the best, not the most satisfied: the most profitable.” Are the most profitable clients the ones who operate as savvy, informed partners who deeply understand and appreciate (and scrutinize) the service you’re providing, therefore maximizing the value of the partnership, or are they simply the ones who have overpaid?
What a great exercise for all sales professionals. Hopefully your results are not too disturbing. However, that introduces an even more important question: As salespeople, how can we ensure that more of our clients fall into the category of those maximizing the value of the partnership?