Always Do Right By Your Prospects – It’s a LONG career

Last week, out of the blue, I got a message from a woman who wanted to meet with me to discuss some potential business partnerships with QuotaCrush.   But this story actually starts much earlier.

Ten years ago, I was running the Northeast for a mobile marketing firm, and she was planning the mobile strategy for a Fortune 100 financial services firm.  By being persistent, I was able to secure a meeting with her, and pitch my company’s product.  I had several meetings with her over the next several weeks, and I was consistent and persistent.  At the end of the day, she did not buy the product.  It was not a perfect match for what they wanted, so we connected on LinkedIn and we went our separate ways.

As I sat down with her yesterday, she proceeded to remind me of this story and how my interaction with her has affected her career in many ways.  In fact, she has said that she has modeled much of how she has conducted dealing with customers and prospects after my interaction.

I was quite honored to hear this and I post this here NOT to simply brag about the affect that I’ve had on this person, but to re-iterate just exactly how important it is to conduct yourself as a representative of sales.  As readers of this blog know, my “swingers” story is one that I use to illustrate how acting badly can affect your career.  In this case, it shows how doing the RIGHT thing can affect your career – even many years later.  The conversation was quite humbling because, as this was early in my career, I hadn’t fully formed my style and was just doing what felt right to me – even if it upset my superiors and affected my own compensation.

But I know I did the right thing because ten years later, my interaction with her still resonated in her brain for several reasons:

  1. I was able to break into a large company with relative ease thru persistent, convincing cold calling.
  2. I was (in her words) “persistent but not pushy or salesy” as we went thru the process.
  3. I respected that I only needed to sell her what she needed and didn’t try to change her need to fit my product
  4. I respected her as a business person and not a “target”

To be clear… she was one of my key prospect/targets, and I know the CEO of the company that I was working for was not happy that I did not close the deal.  But as I have written about many times before, you should always be selling value to your prospects – and only if you have something of value for them.  Our company did NOT have the perfect solution for them, and while I could have force-fed something to them, they would not have been happy with the result.

Ten years later, this woman has an opportunity for us to work together, and we will likely work together. I fully expect that in our new relationship, I will make significantly more money than the commission I would have made on the small “likely to make the customer unhappy” project ten years ago.

So, as you think about reasons why you should sell value, remember that its a LONG career and people are fluid (which is why Rolodex’s matter less), so do the right thing and success will follow.