Sunday, June 26, 2016
Thursday, March 3, 2016
This is a re-post of a prior blog
Writing this post less than 45 days prior to the 2012 elections I have chosen to share some findings about the selling of candidates to the public that relate to business to business selling. The item that comes to my mind is the things that salespeople and sales organizations do to drive the customers away.
Our evenings during the last few months have been filled with robot-callers and personal surveys that all seem to end with an appeal for more money. This year the contributions requested are as little as $2.00, yet when you follow the link to sign up for the $2.00 donation there is not even a box to check for that suggested donation. You sure can make a larger one however! The aim of the callers is to sell the candidate and elicit a donation to fund more calls to all of us!
The point that I want to initially make is that the biggest mistake that is made in sales is contacting the customer too much and too often. Nate Boaz, John Murnane and Kevin Nuffer share in a McKinsey Quarterly article in May of 2010 that while customers in this category say they care about product and price, what they really want is a great sales experience. For the salesperson this means getting the basics right.
“Customers want to be contacted just enough, not bombarded. Sales reps should know their products or services intimately and how their offering compares with those of their competitors. Customers need information on exactly how a product or service will make a difference to their businesses. And while they may say price is one of their biggest concerns, a satisfying sales experience is ultimately more important.”
We are approached constantly by sales organizations that do not have a clear understanding of when to develop salespeople. The answer is all of the time! Salespeople are just like athletes who are sent to exhaustive spring trainings every year for baseball near our home in Southwest Florida. The same is true for all teams and also for salespeople who must be groomed and taken to higher levels.
Development is needed to understand changes taking place in the field. Too often the focus of customer is to see a concept and methodology that the customer does not buy into on the first call. The constant pounding of that concept or idea is not the answer to winning the customer over. It is a constant drip of the idea over time. Ultimately even the drip of water will carve its path through a piece of rock.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Center for Organizational Energy - Jim Ullery: Handling A Concern: “We are satisfied with our current provider…” I am sure that many of us have either heard or seen this type of reply from a prospect. ...
“We are satisfied with our current provider…”
I am sure that many of us have either heard or seen this type of reply from a prospect. The key to a crisp reply is understanding and listening:
To Whom It May Concern:
We have been working with Paul Peterson for many years now. He has always done a fantastic job of offering good coverage at a fair cost. However, what sets Paul apart is his outstanding customer service and speed in accommodating our needs as a manufacturing company. Many of our staff actually employ the talents of Paul’s firm because of the level of comfort that we have with him. Over the last 10 years, there have been countless other electrical contractors knocking on our door trying to earn our business. We respectfully decline and tell them we are satisfied with our current provider; just like any happy homeowner would.
When you read this don’t you just wish that you were Paul? In the Sales Pro Professional Selling System PSS class we teach that this is a customer concern. Other sales classes might refer to it as an objection. Frankly, there is an army of salespeople that turn on their proverbial heels when this statement is made and they are out the door.
Please understand, in Sales Pro we teach that this is a good thing. We want to hear these comments. This is not an objection, it is a concern. What we want ourselves to hear is I have been using my current provider for the last 10 years and I hope my trust in them is being met with the very best in innovation and advanced technology. You see, raising issues or concerns that our firms are able to deal with up front, demonstrate our ability to provide what the customer needs today. Needs change over time. So should our investment in listening to the current needs of an organization or its people.
Here is a sad truth that you can take to the bank. The very best customers are used to using their current providers and many of them let down their guard and do not ask for special considerations in the form of expanded services and greater profitability. An easy example is to call your current cell phone provider and shop for a new plan today. In most cases where you may love the provider and their platform, that very firm is giving new customers off the street a better value than you currently have.
So what do you do? First acknowledge what is important to the prospect without endorsing the company. Never say, “They have a great reputation!” Why? Simple you are not their marketing department.
A better acknowledgement would be, “Being confident in your choice of vendors is extremely important as the technology advances today.” Now seek permission to probe on a limited basis. I never want to overstay my welcome as I am now on borrowed time. If I introduce a time frame I will say something like, “I will take no more than 10 minutes.”
Now I am going to explore what the current situation is.
· “Tell me about the three most important factors that go into your maintaining the relationship with your current provider?”
· “Please put them in order of priority for me.”
· “Over time, what changes have you seen in that relationship that has kept it returning greater investment for you?”
Next I want to pick up on something the prospect says that is very important to them and look for more detail. I am looking for an opportunity.
· “You said….… was important – would you expand on that for me?”
· “Mmm that is very interesting. More and more of our clients are telling us the same thing.”
Here I am acknowledging. (In our program we talk about the extreme importance of acknowledgement.)
Now I want to explore the effect on their business if this factor is not all that it can be.
· “What have the consequences been for you to discover after the fact that you might have configured your…. differently?”
· “How do you feel about that?”
· “How has that affected you?”
Finally I want to confirm that there is more than potential in what my firm can do for this prospect. I want to confirm that during this interaction potential has become desire to accomplish or to have something. It has become a need!
· “It sounds as if you would rather have……Is that correct?”
· “So you need……right?”
· “Would you like to have a way to……?”
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Thursday, May 7, 2015
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward