By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Ben Shapiro, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School who has done Sales and Marketing consulting worldwide with many companies. He was addressing a group of consultants about growing their professional services businesses. He shared several stories and fielded many questions attendees had.
At one point there was a discussion about what an outside consultant with experience brings to his or her clients. There was consensus that most companies look inward rather than outward. Especially in large organizations new ideas are dismissed because: “That’s not the way we do it here.” Original thoughts can die of loneliness.
Ben agreed and shared that he is constantly concerned about “going native” with his long-term clients. By that he meant after consultants or sellers understand how things are done within their accounts, it’s important to continue to challenge rather than accept the status quo. It reinforced that the best sellers are inquisitive in always asking questions.
Competent sellers representing vendors with enterprise offerings should be aware that in addition to knowledge about their offerings and their accounts, they bring an understanding about different approaches other organizations have taken. This enables them to question and offer ideas that reflect best industry practices clients otherwise would be unaware of.
If this type of relationship can be established, sellers become trusted advisors and it is extremely difficult for competitors to gain footholds in their accounts.