Richard’s Rant: Don’t Limit Your Sales Potential
by Richard Piehler, Technical Sales Representative
Here is a great article I came across entitled ‘Don’t Limit Your Sales Potential: Create a Differentiated Customer Experience‘ by Dave Holt. I wanted to share, great knowledge for all.
“Organizations are continually looking for ways to differentiate themselves in a very competitive marketplace. With fierce competition, it is getting harder and harder for organizations to differentiate themselves on product alone.
Customers demand more from the buying experience. The buying decision is no longer being made only on price; it is also being made on the value they receive from the knowledge, advice, and guidance of sales professionals.
The question then becomes: Is your organization’s sales talent better than that of your competition?
Sales professionals need to continually invest in their skills to become the best that they can be for their customers, themselves, and their organization.
What have I observed from the best?
A differentiated customer-buying experience is built on:
- What the sales professional does before the customer interaction
- What they do during
- And what they do afterward
What do the BEST do before?
They get ready for their customer by:
- Investing time in the customer relationship prior to the interaction whether in person or on the phone
- Leveraging tools and resources that create organizational memory and create a snapshot of the customer’s current relationship with the organization
- Leveraging what is known about the customer, such as their interests, their business, and their career
What do the BEST do during?
The best provide value to their customers during the interaction through their knowledge, guidance, and advice – High performers continually work at getting on the same wavelength with their customers by:
- Projecting honesty
- Demonstrating competence
- Establishing commonality
Helping the customer make the right buying decision is built on the foundation of a trusted relationship and the ability of the sales professional to create value.
Some of the fundamental skills that can be observed by a high-performing sales person during effective customer discovery are:
1. Getting the client ready and eager to participate in the conversation
2. The ability to ask great discovery questions. Asking great discovery questions has many positive impacts on the client experience; customers respect salespeople when genuine interest is shown in their situation, problems, opportunities, and interests.
3. The interchange of ideas promotes a sense of commonality as well as reciprocity. Asking great discovery questions gives the client an opportunity to provide the sales person with the necessary information to make a well-informed buying decision.
High performing sales professionals are not afraid to ask tough questions; however, they ask them in a customer-focused manner. They also know that sometimes what the customer says and what the customer means are often different. They use effective discovery questions to check the levels of urgency and importance in order to establish the reality of the issues the customer faces.
High-Performing Sales Professionals are great active listeners. They have the ability to:
- Capture the customer’s energy words through effective note-taking
- Re-present the customer’s needs by including not only the facts, but the feelings behind the facts
- Recognizing the non-verbal cues from the customer which determine if their point of view is truly understood
High-performing sale professionals do not sell products – they provide solutions. Customers have the right to feel that their circumstances are unique and that their needs require solutions that are specific to them. Ultimately, it is the goal of a professional sales person to demonstrate to their customers that the products and services that they represent will satisfy their needs and provide a solution that will meet or exceed the customer’s expectations.
High performing sales professionals know that product knowledge includes not just the facts about their products and services, but how they are applied and what they will do for their customers.
High-performing sales professionals understand that it’s their responsibility to help the customer make the right buying decision. That commitment demonstrates that they understand their customer’s needs, that the solution they have outlined will meet the customer’s needs, and that they believe in their product and services, their organization, and themselves.
Resistance to Commitment
Not all customers are ready to buy. High-performing sales professionals also understand the concept of resistance and the resistance barrier. They know that objections indicate a resistance point for the customer and need to be understood. They also know that the majority of objections are not what they appear on the surface, and if they have stuck to the fundamentals of selling, objections become more of a request for further information or are simply misunderstandings. High-performing sales professionals also believe that objections are caused by the sales person, not the customer.
High-performing sales people stay in touch with their customers; they measure the ongoing relationship with their customers and implement high value, keep-in-touch strategies.
High Value touch points might include: – Measuring the impact of the solution provided to the customer based on their needs
- Providing valuable insight on topics of interest to their customers
- Introducing their customers to other team members in their organization
- Capturing information about their customers to ensure organizational memory
High-performing sales people succeed long-term with their customers because they proactively initiate contact on a regular basis and consistently create a differentiated customer experience.