My favorite author, Patrick Lencioni, has a book entitled Getting Naked. This book does a fantastic job of outlining what I believe to be one of the best ways to approach business development, especially if you are in B2B sales or in some sort of a consulting position. I recently got to spend the better part of a day with Patrick at a conference, and I realized that the method he implies in his book (it’s a business parable) speaks to who he genuinely is as a person and how he approaches his work.
An extremely simplified explanation would be this: don’t try and sell to people. Instead, listen, ask questions, and do all that you can to help them. Once you have done that, if it is meant to be, they will want to become your client. Simple, that’s it. I adopted this approach several years ago (before I read the book) and I can tell you that it completely changed my trajectory. When it came to my work, I implemented the original teachings of a sales processes that dictated a specific formula for “sales”. I did okay with this, but it never really felt like me and it did not feel comfortable. I can confidently say that when I changed my approach, it became easy…and my business exploded.
After living this method, meeting Patrick, and working with people all over the world, I think there is one additional and truly key component for this to be successful – the intention that is set at the beginning. I know this may start to sound a little out there, but I believe it has a bigger impact than we may believe. And I may have initially taken it for granted. Now, I value this so much that I have come to believe we genuinely attract what we project. If it is authentic, positive, and trusted engagement, that is what we will see. Today, when I meet someone, I do all I can to help them, add value, or solve a problem in some way. Deep down, I am doing this with the intention of helping them first and foremost. That’s it. As a result, these actions attract and appeal to great clients and/or lead to fantastic referrals.
When meeting with someone new – potential client or not – I want to be 100% present, genuinely curious, and give as much as I can. Open, honest, direct, and to the point. In many cases, I may call them out or tell them what they don’t want to hear; however, I am giving my true opinion or feedback with the best of intention. I do everything I can to help, with no expectations of something in return.
When our conversation is over, I let it go. I know that if something is to come of it, it will happen when the other person is ready. If not, that’s okay. It wasn’t meant to be. However, I believe the goodwill that this technique builds is the best way to approach business development. If it works out that this person is not the right fit at this time, they may be in the future. I believe people can sense intention. If you are looking to create a long-term relationship, intention absolutely matters.
I have encouraged many of the advisory clients with whom I work to utilize this method. Recently, I have been working with someone in Los Angeles who is building their advisory practice. It has taken some time for him to become comfortable with this approach, but in our last video call, he could not have been more excited to report how it had been working. As a result of adopting this technique, he began seeing more referrals, and he believed he was on the cusp of seeing a tsunami of great things coming his way.
Some people call this karma, while others view it as the theory of reciprocity. I look at as simply good business. If you want to create excellent, long-term relationships, intention matters. Interested in taking your selling game up a notch? Need assistance in mastering your personal and/or professional intention? We can help with that! Contact us today to find out more.