One of the things I see too many sales people doing is focusing only on the deal. That is, when we finally find and qualify an opportunity, our focus is on the deal only.

We have meetings with the buying group, we focus on all the things we need to do to move the deal forward, winning a PO. Every conversation is about the deal, where the customer is in their process, and what we have to do next.

But we miss the opportunity to enrich our relationships and continue to teach our customers. Sometimes we focus so much on the things we have to do to win the deal, that we miss what may really be going on—both with the deal and with our customers.

And often, those things are the most important things happening to the customer.

For us, the “deal” is about getting the PO. But for the customer it’s always about something bigger. It’s about the problem they are trying to solve, it’s about what they are trying to achieve (personally and organizationally). And then there is their “day job,” the things that take their time outside this specific project. Then, finally, there may be things happening in their organization or in their lives.

These are the things that concern our customers. It’s important to learn about these from the customer, to engage them, to talk about the things that are happening to/with them, outside this specific “deal.” It’s in these conversations, we have the opportunity to enrich our relationships and create more value with them. It’s here that we demonstrate how much we care–about them and what they are trying to achieve, not just getting a PO. It’s through these discussions, that we discover more opportunities or where we teach the customers about other things they might be looking at.

Even though we want to win the deal, we must always look at enriching the relationship, identifying new opportunities, continuing to teach and develop the customers we are working with.

Remember, we want to create customers for life, we do this by looking beyond the deal.