The Dalai Lama Sales Rep
I came across this quote from the Dalai Lama from a book called “The Art Of Happiness” by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
"If you maintain a feeling of compassion, loving kindness, then something automatically opens your inner door. Through that, you can communicate much more easily with other people. And the feeling of warmth creates a feeling of openness. You'll find that all human beings are just like you, so you'll be able to relate to them more easily."
This is how I approach sales.
At Solspace, I take the lead in talking to prospective clients. I try to be at my best for them every time. For me, that means remaining unattached to any specific outcome. When I'm at my best in the sales process, I only care about a client finding the right agency, or team, or freelancer, or even employee who can solve their website problem.
This sense of compassion for my prospective clients frees me to give them the best advice. Often the best recommendation I can give to a prospective client is to hire Solspace. Sometimes, it's to go and talk to one of my competitors. But over the years, I have found that this Buddhist approach of non-attached, non-grasping sales activity yields the best results over time.
A good example of this happened a couple of years ago. We were approached by a prospective client who needed about 200 hours per month of retainer web development support. This would have been too large of a contract for my team. I could have grasped that money and tried to serve the client, but it would have been bad for everyone in the long run. I referred them to a much larger agency that could do the work and manage the scale.
Another example happened when a major global brand approached us to customize Freeform, our form builder plugin for Craft, with a small new feature. Instead of grasping and trying to get my claws into this client and get more work for them, we just did the work on time, on budget, and above expectations. A year later, this global brand came back with a huge project that made our whole year financially.
It all comes down to empathy. How would your prospect want to be treated? Considering their specific situation and making recommendations based on that leads to authentic advice and meaningful work. And, that can often lead to more work with each other. Just don’t force it. Let the relationship flow with as little friction as possible. That will inevitably open doors.