Are you helping? Or just selling?

Years ago, Zig Ziglar, the sales legend, said the following:

“You can have everything you want in life if you will just help others get what they want.”

The operative word there is “help.”

I won hundreds of millions in new business around the world.

Selling complex communications systems for a number of start-ups.

We had no brand name, very little track record and we competed against large multi-national tech companies on every deal.

I didn’t win deals by being a great seller.

I won deals by being a world-class helper.

My buyers didn’t need my selling. They needed my help to make their decisions.

I rallied whatever resources I could, inside my companies and out, to:

Help my buyers define the business outcomes they wanted to achieve.

Help my buyers understand the challenges and obstacles to achieving those outcomes.

Help my buyers develop their business case for making a change.

Help my buyers define their options for how to achieve those desired business outcomes.

Help my buyers make the trade-offs to choose their preferred solution.

Help my buyers develop the business case for my solution.

Help my buyers understand the risks associated with their business case.

There was more. But, you get that point.

However, before I could help my buyers, two things had to happen.

First, I had to build a connection with the key stakeholders and develop a baseline of credibility and trust.

That trust earned me the right to ask the insightful questions that influenced and shaped the buyers thinking.

Second, I had to truly understand the buyer and what was most important to them.

This is so critical. You can’t help your buyers if you don’t understand them. Both in terms of the most important outcomes they want to achieve and which stakeholders those outcomes are more important to.

You can try. But without possessing that understanding, you’re just guessing how you can be helpful. And that doesn’t help the buyer.

Look, you’re all aware of the reports that say B2B buyers don’t want to talk with sellers.

So, when buyers invest their time to talk to you it’s not because they want you to sell them.

They talk to you because they need your help, in some dimension, to help them make their decision.

Your job is to figure out and understand exactly what help they need. And give it.