The Inner Game
Here at Solve, we think a lot about the challenges our customers are trying to tackle; it’s a big part of what we do and who we are. One of our founders often says, “We have never met a pile of data we did not like”. In our world of building custom solutions, we are challenged by the notion of creating something concrete and useable, starting from something abstract and possible. We describe it as working with our customers to help them discover what is possible. We work with their complex data that is messy, even ugly and we help take that ugly data, reengineer the data structures and display the information in the form of dashboards and/or webpages so that our customers can derive insights and take action. The actions our customers take are most often based on the measurements and details they want to visualize which will improve their bottom line and reduce costs or increase revenues.
Our role at Solve from a technical perspective is we do a lot of heavy lifting, building a solid foundation for our customers to take full advantage of the power within their data. Clearly, we spend a lot of our time thinking within our technical teams, because “data model” IS as sexy as it sounds. But what about the sales team, what things do we think about when it comes to serving our customers?
Believe it or not, the thinking philosophy and the way we engage the sales process is something we spend a lot of time working on. We believe that the best way to be of value to our customers in the sales process, happens in the way we show up, where our mental game is and how and what we say. It’s not about a memorized script or canned pitch, but rather it is referred to as the “Inner Game”. This Inner Game is what we believe and how we best present, understand and listen clearly so the customer can benefit from our time with them. Solve is committed to being lifetime learners about perfecting our sales process. The sales team meets regularly to discuss account/deal activity and how our thinking and speaking skills become a part of our consistent approach in encounters with our customers.
The three elements of the sales process I’d like to highlight for this blog are essential to the thinking we do in selling. We refer to these three elements as the Holy Trinity of the Inner Game, they are Abundance, Detachment and Intent.
Abundance – Unlimited opportunity
We believe in the idea that the market we serve is abundant with customers who have a lot of needs and will benefit from the solution expertise we bring. It’s not meant to be boastful, but rather, intended to help us be mindful that we are not desperate or needy and coming from a perspective of scarcity. When things are scarce whether its money, goods, customers, etc. the characteristics that are exhibited include: desperate, impatience, and pushy. Conversely, with an abundant mentality, the customer is the focus. Their needs, objectives and challenges as well as the decision to buy or not is in their control. Our customers understand more clearly that we are working together to achieve their goals. When we are abundant thinking, we are more present, more curious and more focused on the right things.
Detachment – Keeping the focus on customer success
We think about detachment, in terms of our never being so close to or attached to an opportunity that we lose focus on the outcome. The outcome we seek and are passionate about is customer success and our helping them achieve their goals and objectives. That success can sometimes mean we must take a position that can be difficult, challenging and costly. Our confidence with a detachment mentality is we can affect our thinking about the customer when we get caught up in being attached to our time, our needs and our own agenda. This helps us keep our eye on the prize and focus on the mutual success that comes with the exceptional work we provide.
Intent – How can we help?
In our thinking approach as a company whether it be technical development, delivery or sales, our Intent is absolutely vital. We are a company built (and even named for) our ability to solve problems. We thrive on being helpful; we spend a lot of our time figuring out complex problems and our focus is being intentionally resourceful to our customers. Our best asset is the passion we bring to solving our customer’s problems. In the inner game of selling, we approach each and every encounter with our customers and prospects with the intent of how we can be of help. As a consulting company we are paid for our expertise and the results we deliver, and while this is critical to our success, we often say to our customers and prospects “even if we never bill you for any work, we would love to come in and listen to you and determine if there are ways we can help.” Keeping our focus on Intent at the sales level sets us apart and demands that we always look for ways to be a resource to our customers.
At Solve, we don’t want to sell anyone anything, what we want is to bring all the resources and abilities to help our customers and prospects make the best decision for their organization. Don’t get me wrong, I love when our customers and prospects say, “Yes” and affirm their belief in us. “No” and “Not now” are our second favorite responses because it helps us refocus our efforts on where else we can be of help.
We do not work in a market where we are hammers looking for a nail, rather in solution selling we must make sure that our thinking (inner game) is always evolving so we can be the best resource for our customers.