From the CCS® Sales Blog

April 2016

Viewing posts from April , 2016

Sales Tips: How “Hurt and Rescue” Leads Naturally to Your Offerings

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<p><span style=”font-size: 24px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;”><strong><span style=”color: #152d53;”>Sales Tips:&nbsp;”Hurt and Rescue” Earns You the Right to Talk Product with Executive Buyers</span></strong></span></p>
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Sales Tips: “Hurt and Rescue” Earns You the Right to Talk Product with Executive Buyers

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

sales tips for hurt and rescue sales approachI’d like to share a few observations about average salespeople. I believe they: 

  • Talk too much
  • Talk mostly about their products/offerings
  • Don’t ask enough questions

This shouldn’t come as a great surprise to companies that hire them and immediately subject sellers to product training. Unless sellers know better and can convert what they learned into a coherent 30-minute call on business people, product training points them in the direction of making product pitches.

Executive level buyers have neither the time nor interest to learn all about offerings (tolerate “pitches”). Superior sellers realize that during calls a more effective sequence is to:

  1. Have buyers conclude sellers are sincere and competent
  2. Uncover business outcomes buyers would like to improve
  3. Help buyers understand why they can’t achieve the desired results
  4. Only present features that are relevant to achieving the desired goals

This nets out to being more patient than most sellers by asking questions to find out a buyer’s current situation and listening to the answers. By uncovering needs, sellers earn the right to talk about relevant features/capabilities.

Expose the Hurt and Offer the Rescue
Ultimately, Sales can be viewed as a “hurt and rescue” exercise. By that I mean having buyers share goals they can’t achieve and helping them understand why their current approach is “broken.” After doing so, empower/rescue them by helping them understand the specific capabilities they need. This approach should yield superior buying experiences and can be a differentiator when offerings and pricing are similar. 

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Sales Tips: The Benefits of Starting As “Column A”

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

sales tips for starting as Column A vendorChanges in buying behavior have made a salesperson’s job much more difficult. Pre-Internet, it was common for mid-level managers to work with a seller from a vendor to get far enough into the sales cycle to generate a bid or proposal. The seller had the ability to influence (wire) the capabilities so that they had a very good chance of winning the business. Competitors were invited to bid very late in the process, primarily to provide pricing leverage in negotiating with their vendor of choice, Column A.

Fast forward to today’s market and for inbound inquiries, it is far more complicated. Mid-level staff now evaluates vendors in a given space in parallel rather than in series. By that I mean they use search engines to find all the vendors in a given space and wind up visiting multiple websites so that their aggregate requirements span features/capabilities of several different vendors. This likely means there is no “Column A” but rather Vendors 1, 2, 3, etc. It has become far more difficult for sellers to earn “Column A” status. Also, if value and payback have not been established, the possibility of “no decision” outcomes looms. Effectively, these inbound inquiries amount to bottom-up selling efforts as higher levels must be accessed.

While not an easy task, sellers and vendors do have opportunities to start as Column A, but the challenge is that there must be proactive contacts with levels that are high enough to fund unbudgeted initiatives. The benefits of starting at Key Player levels are significant:

  • Sellers have the ability to target companies that fit desirable profiles.
  • Larger opportunities are likely because budget can be found.
  • Sales cycles will likely be shorter when starting at high levels.
  • If value isn’t established, early Key Players will withdraw (bad news early is good news).
  • Rather than wait for inbound leads, sellers can control the quality of their pipelines.

The most significant advantage of proactively taking Key Players from latent to active needs is that sellers can enjoy the benefits of starting buying cycles as Column A. 

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