I hope this small bit of me finds a home someplace and that its pieces complete your puzzle.
If you are a salesperson I have written this for us. If you are head of sales or VP or a C of something you should read this also. Steve Blank says to get out of the building, but sometimes you should get back in.
A salesperson has to manage several ‘sales’. I’m going to give a glimpse into each, tie them together, then I will sign off. It will take you about 7 minutes to read.
Sales to the prospect:
To most prospects the difference between your product and ‘theirs’ is indistinguishable.
- Yours does this, so does theirs, no big deal
- Yours can do this, they can’t, no big deal
- They can do this, you can’t, no big deal
It’s really not important to the prospect and because it’s not important to them, it should not be important to you. But, if you let ‘it’ become important they will use ‘it’ as leverage. Acknowledge the difference, ask if it important to them. If it’s important, is it a deal breaker if you can’t do it. If they say yes, is there a workaround.
Always give the prospect the opportunity to walk away from the ‘deal’, it gives the power back to the salesperson. If there is an issue that could hinder a sale, let them enlist you in finding the solution with them.
To be the best salesperson we have to turn the ‘sell’ of that prospect into a mechanical process and remove as much as the intimacy as we can, trimming the fat. Small talk is ok but it can become distracting. Leave that stuff till after the paperwork has been signed and some of the tension has been eased.
Keep the process clinical. If you become their friend you are applying a faulty tactic on a flawed strategy, you are trying to compensate for a weakness of some sort by introducing a personal relationship and informality. This tact will lengthen the sales cycle and cause a Mexican standoff.
Be the nice bulldozer, and sometimes, don’t be nice.
The prospect wants to be told why you are better. He/She does not want the burden of figuring it out for themselves and possibly choosing wrong. Keep it simple because prospects want bullets that will then become their concept and framework. What you tell them they will synthesize and make it their own. If you give them confusion, too much irrelevant information, too much personality, they will go where it’s easier, to the next salesperson that makes their choice easy.
To the prospect they are jumping out of an airplane and want to know the parachute will open and they will land safely and unharmed. That must become the sale.
The differentiator is the ability of the sales person to manage the process of presenting, being responsive, setting proper expectations, managing the signing of the contracts and on boarding with the least disruption to their operations and to their people.
Its survivor (my favorite show and I want to be on it) and you have to make big moves and play to win. To win you have to be willing to let prospects go, if you hold a prospect too precious it will affect your emotional well being and career durability. You must have a full pipeline of quality prospects and continually replenish.
Think of an assembly line and your job is to move them along, from station to station. Everything has to be a process. Basically all the client questions are the same and if you have written responses properly you should endlessly copy and paste when appropriate.
You have to turn your concept of your job from ‘sales’ to managing the sales process.
Prospects want sales reps who have ‘been there, done that’ and give them confidence that this time, they’re just ‘doing it again’.
If a sales meeting is over an hour, something has gone wrong. Each meeting should have an agenda that is sent to the client in advance, each proposal should also have an outline of the requirements to close the deal and sign the paperwork (or e-sign) and it should be simple/stupid. The warm and fuzzy is a deception. If that’s your character in a sales environment, stop doing it. Be the sales person they trust to get the sale done and if things go wrong, and they will, that you’re the go to person who will manage that and help to get it resolved quickly. That’s the sale.
Understanding the relationship with a client is crucial. You do a good job of presenting, managing process and being responsive, they have an obligation (post sale) to provide referrals. It’s okay to define this parameter early in the relationship, the quicker it’s in their head, the better. That’s giving the prospect an acceptable amount of bitcoin currency.
Sales to Service
Service people are different than sales people. Sales people should be willing to be confrontational and driven by urgency. Service people should be driven by resolving conflict and are patient, even keeled people.
Service and sales don’t play well together. I have seen youtube videos of bears cuddling dogs, but the usual outcome of bear and dog is not good for the dog.
Service has to be sold on a prospect. Service doesn’t understand the assembly line of sales. They want to nurture and they emotionally attach themselves to the client and oftentimes feel that they become an extension and advocate of the client. This can cause a lot of problems so I want to help prophylactically resolve them.
Once the client has been sold, all of their questions and concerns start pouring out and the service personal become the uncompensated sales person. They resent this and because they are distributed over many clients, it isn’t optimal time allocation for them. They will often escalate an issue beyond you and this is never good.
Service people should know the details of a prospect as it is being converted to a client, it eases their performance anxiety. Here you should use some added personality. It is the personality profile of the service person to respond well to a slower pace, a friendly smile, an extra few minutes of schmooze time with you. Again, this is a mechanical process, when you see them, slow down a little bit, talk a little slower.
Selling to the president, VP or C of something
These folks measure a sales rep in equal parts of effort, willingness to be trained, meeting sales quotas and discretionary effort. The last part refers to helping new sales reps get trained, asking good questions in sales meetings, comingg in early and leaving a little later.
Now for tying it all together:
Most people understand sales in theory and a mythology.
They say things like ‘sell me this pen’, if you’re that person, stop saying that. They envision Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross and sales as slick persuasion. You want to see theatrics, go to Broadway show.