Leads, conversions and sales: It’s what sales professionals live for, and it’s what drives occupancy, growth and success within the flexible workspace industry.
But should workspace operators focus less on ‘closing deals’ and more on ‘opening opportunities’?
On the outset, completing the deal and introducing new clients to a workspace may seem like one and the same process. Yet as noted by Ray Lindenberg, President and founder of the Workspace Association of New York (WANY), a subtle change of perspective can help drive better relationships and ultimately develop greater client loyalty.
“We see this error committed over and over by business centre operators,” says Ray. “It stems from a questionable approach and philosophy that unfortunately can set the wrong precedent and tone for win-win, longer-lasting and more fruitful relationships.”
The error in question lies in how operators regard the new client process as a ‘closing’, when in fact it is “an opportunity for a glorious ‘opening’ and a chance to celebrate the beginning of a beautiful relationship”, one that has the potential to yield greater value and rewards for all parties.
It’s a subtle yet substantial distinction.
Rather than focusing on closing, Ray recommends sales staff should “presume the winning relationship” by concentrating on the prospect’s requirements. This may include “kickers and sweeteners in their bundle of promises”, but it’s more about a shift in perspective and mentality.
Indeed, this blog post by Salesforce delves deeper into that mindset. Drawing on advice from John Doerr, author of Wall St. Journal bestseller, ‘Rainmaking Conversations, Influence, Persuade and Sell in any Situation’, the advice steers well clear of how to sell faster or get more people through the door. Instead, it concentrates on delivering a service that is finely tuned to the buyer’s needs.
Doerr’s top 7 tips range from collaborating with prospective clients to listening – and fully understanding – their needs. A key milestone along the journey is this one:
This aspect of selling has changed, says Doerr. “Sellers are really good at diagnosing buyer’s problems and they do it all the time, so that part isn’t really going to set you apart.” What’s important now, Doerr says, is to go beyond diagnosing and solving problems, by really understanding “the big picture of where the buyer is trying to go.”
Highly successful sellers today focus on the dreams, aspirations and goals of the buyers, to provide more value than simply offering a solution. “They connect with what we call, ‘the new reality for clients.’ It’s where the buyer wants to be when it’s all said and done.”
The flexible space market is growing at pace, with a constant influx of new market entrants and workspace expansions. More players serve to further educate prospective clients on the benefits of our market, but as competition intensifies, it can be all too easy for operators to focus too closely on leads and deals rather than nurturing long-term relationships.
Ray Lindenberg concurs,
“Leave the ‘hammering out’ of sales to Landlords and Lawyers. Overwhelm your incoming ‘neighbours’, who will ultimately share the workspace with you in many instances, by waltzing through with a warm and winning, high-hospitality attitude.
“That mentality and attitude overflows, and results in much greater success and ‘opening’ (not closing) ratios, in the long-run.”
A shift in perspective doesn’t happen overnight. Just like the best client relationships, it’s a process that requires understanding and commitment to outstanding levels of service. These are key attributes for which the flexible workspace industry is renowned – but the learning never stops. That’s why the BCA has invited some of the leading lights in business for Ignite 2017, the BCA’s next annual Conference, taking place on 18th May 2017 at 155 Bishopsgate in London. Join us in May and learn how to disrupt traditional mindsets by igniting your thinking and embracing fresh perspectives.
Image: Viktor Hanacek, PicJumbo