A version of this article was published in Business Black Box Magazine, Q1, 2016
To win big in sales today your team must be able to make others quickly see the value of working with and purchasing from your company. To accomplish this your team needs to also believe in the value they personally deliver and how valuable your products and services are. Having a process is great, but without buy-in to value, there will always be fewer sales.
The absence of value creates 'a dime a dozen' thinking and this is when commodities are born. When the sales team doubts the value of their products they'll cave to pricing pressures. If accepted, those lower rates reinforce lack of value thinking for both the seller and the client. No sales process can fix that.
Here are several ways, from simple to more complex, that your team can establish and prove value.
Know your products well; and know how those products fit into your client's businesses. Be able to quickly and succinctly state your understanding of your client's offerings and their value proposition. Explain how you've come to know that and share why others with similar needs count on your help. Share information about your products only in response to questions they ask.
Understand that the client has already formed an opinion about what they want, your products and your team. Before discussing your offerings ask them what they are already considering and why. This will give you insights into their past purchases and patterns, likes and dislikes. Being armed with that information allows you to better frame questions, share potential impacts and craft alternative solutions. Any seller who can accomplish those things will always be considered high caliber and valuable.
Know your client's customers. Your clients likely buy from you because they have someone else they're serving. The more your team knows about your client's customers, the more ways they'll find to help them. And, the more your clients witness your team demonstrating knowledge of their customer, the more your clients will trust and appreciate your team.
Remain curious, ask tough questions and listen. Top sellers realize that things aren't always as they seem and they also don't let their needs or interests cloud their judgment. Because they remain a bit skeptical they don't filter comments based on what they hope to hear, they stay focused on the client's interests asking questions that neither of them can answer easily. Clients describe them as great listeners.
Communicate, set expectations and follow through. Lack of communication and miscommunication are the main reasons that a deals fall apart. When your team communicates next steps and expectations and takes the initiative to alert clients to potential issues they become known for great customer service. These acts are highly valued and appreciated and will set your team apart. When your team follows through after the sale is made, your clients will place them heads and shoulders above your competition. This is the foundation for long-term professional relationships that transcend to personal friendships.
Pursue a greater future for your clients. Lead them to think of things they've not yet considered. The best-case scenario is when you deliver new ideas, share opportunities and create positive impact for them. They will reward you with an inordinate share of their business, challenge you to expand and grow with them, and refer you to others. That's pretty much the holy grail of any business relationship.
Every supporting department needs to consistently perform to expectations so that superior products are delivered on time. This is where having processes in place to ensure high standards are met and adhered to is critical.
Top performing sellers will balk at selling inferior products and leave companies that fall short or fail to deliver on promises made. They attach their names and reputations to companies and products that are sought after and valued. Settling for anything less is a compromise and they won't go there. Your clients won't either.