By Christopher Krueger, Director of Account Management, cStor
Growing up back in Wisconsin, my mom always kicked off a holiday or big family meal with what I thought was a very corny toast: “…to happiness, health, and wealth!” As kids, my brothers and I would raise our kiddie cocktails right along with all the adults hoisting their beverages and roll our eyes like kids tend to do. Sometimes, those goofy little memories marinate in one’s mind for years, or decades, before you realize the inherent wisdom and value it has to you, your work, and your life.
In my 15th lap around the sun with cStor, I’ve worked with many good-hearted, talented sales folks working for amazing tech companies, all trying to do one thing: sell. Or, consult? Or, advise? Honestly, it really doesn’t matter what you say you do as long as the client experience follows the format of my mom’s eye-roll inducing toast: happiness, health, and wealth.
“Happiness” is the 1:1, or small group relationships, between a client and vendor—the day-to-day interactions between the folks who actually get stuff done. For a salesperson, the mission should be to make people happier by doing the right thing for the right reasons. Strip away the buzzwords, forget the commission checks, disregard whether you “sell” or “consult,” fire-up the active listening skills, and get to know what would make your client happier in a meaningful way. Then, drive for that outcome.
“Health” refers to how effectively a vendor company works with a client for the sole purpose of doing great things with and for that client’s company… this does not mean selling a product with neatly organized cables and the latest in blinky lights or new software features glistening with catchy marketing buzzwords. Taking a page from Arnoldo Hax’s book, The Delta Model: Reinventing Your Business Strategy, your strategic driver for a healthy client relationship is “love” for that client, not winning a war with competitors for the business.
“Wealth” is simply the measure of value exchanged between the client and the vendor. One of my favorite questions to ask clients is based on a student and teacher analogy in order to determine their perception of value. If I as the vendor were your student looking to receive an “A” grade from you, the teacher, what value would you need to see from me? Remember what they tell you and share it with your team. Then, strive to bring new ideas and coach your clients based on your passion for their success, how well you understand and work with their culture, and your unique and creative business value.
Whether you sell, consult, advise, or peddle… who cares. Focus your mindset and efforts on happiness, health, and wealth and your clients will toast the value you bring to their table.
…to happiness, health, and wealth!