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The Courage to Go First

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Written by: S. Anthony Iannarino

We think that we will lose the relationship we have with our client or prospect by bringing up the difficult issues that they don’t really want to face. We believe that speaking to or about those issues will somehow cause us to lose their trust, especially when it’s clear that they are dealing with a challenging issue. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Fear of Going First

The lesser salesperson isn’t brave enough to bring up their client’s deepest, most difficult challenges because they are afraid they will alienate the client by asking them to face their real dragon. To the client who is dealing with the challenge, that salesperson doesn’t look like someone who can help, someone who can make a real difference.

Courage and Trust

The person who gains their client’s trust is the person who has the courage to address the issue they are struggling with. The willingness to engage around the difficult issues is what makes that person someone worth doing business with. It demonstrates that you are willing to help them with something you both recognize is going to be difficult. This doesn’t destroy trust—it builds it.

You Go First

Your clients need to be brave. Change is always a step into the unknown. It is difficult to make real change in any organization, even a small team. It means that people have to agree to face their fears, and it means they have to do things differently.

You need to be brave in order to help your clients. You have to have the courage to address the issues that might make things more difficult for you by making a deal more complicated to win.

You have to be brave enough to commit yourself to helping your client make improvements. You have to have the intestinal fortitude to commit yourself to being accountable for helping your client make the changes and steer them clear to the other side of their challenge. Doing these things will earn you their trust.

When it comes to having the courage to deal with the biggest and most challenging problems your clients have, you need to go first. If you are going to ask your client to have courage, you need to first show it yourself.

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