What's Your Void-Factor?
What would happen if you suddenly disappeared? One day you’re doing your thing and the next day – POOF – you’re gone. Would your clients miss you beyond the initial inconvenience of replacing you with someone else? Or are you so indispensable that you’d leave a gaping hole that would be felt for months or even years?
If you wouldn’t leave a wake of despair, you are not doing your job as well as you should. That, of course, is assuming that your job is to be a trusted advisor and partner with your clients. A lot of salespeople claim they work as a “trusted advisor,” but they haven’t figured out how to make themselves – to steal the word from MasterCard’s commercials – “priceless.”
To do that, you have to create enough value that the “void” of you not being available is as real as an Adam’s apple on a drag queen. So how do you make yourself valued? The simple answer is you provide more value. But what does that really mean?
It means being sought out by others for your insights, counsel and connections. By the way, being sought out for your advice is NOT the same as giving your advice. Many salespeople like to give unsolicited feedback, far fewer are actually solicited for their counsel. This is especially true when you get beyond the realm of addressing your product or service knowledge.
In other words, do your clients respect and value your wisdom? Before you answer that question, here’s another question for you – how many times in the past week have your clients or prospects asked for your advice on any area? If your answer is two or less, you’ve got some work to do.
If you’re thinking that you don’t have time for more interruptions from your clients on a weekly basis, you actually have another problem – you don’t have the right clients.
So how do you become a truly indispensable advisor and resource? Here are four things that will bump up your VOID-factor rating. To help you remember what to do, V.O.I.D. is an acronym for Validate, Overdeliver, Instigate and Demonstrate.
Validate – Make sure you know what is important to the other person. That starts with really listening to their concerns and validating your shared understanding. Taking the time to verify will let your clients know that they are important to you and that they can trust you with matters of importance. It sets the stage for deepening the relationship.
Overdeliver – Most salespeople overpromise and underdeliver. This is not a good combination. In fact, it’s a sure-fire way to have a low VOID-factor rating. If you understand the expectations, you must do whatever it takes to not only meet them but to exceed them.
Instigate – Don’t sit back. Find ways you can be more proactive and be more valuable to your best clients. There are a number of things you can do to get your creative juices going. One of the easiest ways to jumpstart the process is to spend time together. That could be having coffee, lunch or sharing time through a common interest like a sporting or cultural activity. By spending time together with your best clients, you’ll gain new insights into what’s important to them and why.
Demonstrate – This doesn’t mean that you say the words. It means that you walk the walk. In other words, make sure that your actions show others that you are interested in them and you are looking out for their best interests. Find out what’s important to them and what challenges they face. Then, find ways to help. That doesn’t mean that you have to personally solve their problems. It may mean that you simply point them in the right direction to the appropriate resources.
Take this quiz to determine your VOID-Factor rating.
1. I know the favorite hobby or interest of my top five clients. Yes or No
2. I’m contacted three or more times a week by clients and prospects that are specifically seeking my advice or input on a matter that may or may not be related to my product or service. Yes or No
3. I get referrals from more than 50% of my clients without asking for them. Yes or No
4. My clients share personal information about their lives with me including important milestones, family events and other activities. Yes or No
5. I routinely give referrals to my best clients. Yes or No
6. If I cannot help my clients, I have resources readily available to offer them. Yes or No
7. I have been told on more than one occasion by a client that I’m a good listener. Yes or No
8. My client retention rate is 90% or higher. Yes or No
9. I can call any of my clients and ask for a favor and they would be happy to oblige. Yes or No
10. I understand my clients’ biggest challenges, even if it doesn’t relate to my products or services. Yes or No
11. My clients always take my call or return it within 24 hours. Yes or No
12. My clients are loyal to me and do not shop around for better deals. Yes or No
Scoring: If you answered “Yes” to nine or more statements, congratulations! Your VOID-Factor rating is Excellent. If you answered “Yes” to seven or more statements, your VOID-Factor rating is Good. If you answered “Yes” to six or fewer questions, you’ve got some work to do.