The importance of a long term value focus

I interviewed over 30 great salespeople for my new book, Selling with a Servant Heart. There are lots of things that are different about the way these sellers approach their business. Enough to write a book about them.

But there’s one thing that really stood out. These sellers are less focused on making a sale and more focused on creating long term value for their customers. They will sacrifice the short-term gain of making a sale if they feel that the client’s needs are not well served.

They play a long game. And they play with total confidence that if something is good for the client it will ultimately be good for them.
Playing the long game means no shortcuts. It means absolute integrity. It means owning your mistakes. One seller told me he makes sure to tell customers about mistakes they might not even be aware of because he feels like it’s not only right…it builds trust.

Playing the long game can be hard for newer sellers to do. It’s especially hard to do if you are still financially insecure. And yet these Servant Heart Sellers will tell you it certainly pays dividends in the long run.

A personal example…

In the early, financially insecure days of my training business I had a two-day seminar booked for a small sales staff in the Northwest. I sold only four of those sessions a month. So, a cancelation would cost me 25% of my income. That’s what every agreement we signed had strict no cancelation language.

This client had a small sales staff to begin with. And a few weeks before my session they lost one seller and had another go out on long term leave. They called to see if I could postpone. Honestly, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted them to honor their agreement. And they would have. These were good people. But as I thought about it I knew that even though that would be good for me it was terrible for them. So, I agreed to move the session. But to be honest I wasn’t really happy about it. I was still in the almost broke stage of my training career. But I knew that doing what was right for them would be right for me…. ultimately.

You can guess what happened. Our company continued to do business with client for a number of years. What would have happened if I put my needs before theirs? I’m pretty sure we would have been “one and done”. When you do what’s right for the customer I believe you always win.

If this post seems “touchy feely” to you consider this. The Servant Heart Sellers interviewed for this book have a lot less churn then most sellers. That’s huge because they don’t start over every quarter. They have a ton more referrals.

Dave Wall sells very expensive motor coaches. These are the big buses you see driving down the highway. These buses are expensive costing up to $2m each. Dave is a fanatic about customer service. In fact one of his customers told me about Dave and went on and on about how good he was to deal with. He plays the long game. And his efforts for his customers pays off big time. 90% of Dave’s business is repeat or referral. He’s sold some customers eight or nine coaches over the years. His success is not about just being a good guy. It’s good business. I’m convinced Dave may personally do more dollar volume than most of the RV dealerships in the country. Results created by playing the long game.

In sales there so much focus on closing the sale. That can convince salespeople that closing business is the measure of success. Make no mistake Servant Heart Sellers love to close. But they define success as creating positive outcomes for their customer. They know when they do that they will, like Dave Wall, build incredibly loyalty and repeat business.

The long game. It’s one of the things that distinguish high performing salespeople from the majority of sellers. It can play huge dividends.

About the author:

For the 30 past years Jim Doyle has been helping salespeople make more money, serve their clients better and find more joy in their sales career. He’s a great sales trainer but one with a difference. He has never stopped making sales calls. That makes the insights shared in his books and seminars incredibly real world.

Jim’s live seminars and speeches are fun and motivating, He’s delivered his message of selling with a servant’s heart to audiences in every US state and several foreign countries.
Jim’s a loving husband, a proud Dad and a crappy golfer. He’s recently found a new addiction to his Peleton. And he continues to serve his audiences, his community and the company he founded in 1991,

He lives in Sarasota, Florida with his wife Paula.

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