236 ENCORE-Have a Backup for Everything

Have a Backup for Everything

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” 

That’s Murphy’s Law.

“The more important your customer meeting, the more likely something will certainly go wrong.” 

That’s a Salesperson’s corollary to Murphy’s Law.

Your detailed preparations and your best-laid plans can fall apart before your meeting begins. So rather than hope nothing bad happens, anticipate that it will when preparing for your meetings. 

Here are some situations that involve roadblocks to a presentation. What would you do in each of these instances?

  • You are expecting to present in a large conference room, but when you show up the meeting has been moved to a small office with no slide projector, no white board, and no flip chart.
  • The internet connection your customer or your team plan to use fails before or during your meeting. You were counting on that connection to deliver your message, and now you have no way to access the outside world. 
  • Your meeting was scheduled to be on-site, but due to last minute changes, you have to change it to remote web conference. How will you engage your customer remotely?
  • The only way to connect with your customer is through a phone conference. How will you include the visuals you have prepared?
  • You asked to send files to the customer in advance that include the visuals you need to discuss over the phone… but the customer informs you that due to their stringent security functions, they will not be able to accept these files. 

In these situations, how will you possibly continue with your meeting? 

The answer is to always have a backup plan. For every logistical item, every communication method, every visual, have at least one backup method for sharing the information. Relying on your backup plan could be the only way to salvage a meeting and maintain your momentum.

I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com.

235 ENCORE-Is Your Customer Message Compelling

Is Your Customer Message Compelling

Many salespeople struggle to achieve their sales goals because their message isn’t compelling to customers. This results in wasted selling opportunities that do not advance towards winning deals. Customers will likely get stuck in the “No Decision” zone, and do not take action towards a purchase. 

Great communication skills are one of the most important factors in having a successful sales career. Without them, it will be difficult to build strong customer relationships, be regarded as a Proactive Advisor to your customer, and differentiate your solution and your company from competitors. The bottom line is that elevating your presentation and communication skills to a high level can pay huge dividends for you. 

If this is an area where you are looking to elevate your skills, check out my online course, which is helping sales professionals transform their message into a powerful engine that engages their customers quickly and advances their selling opportunities faster. They learn to deliver with confidence, using powerful insights, proven techniques, and a repeatable approach that guides every customer interaction… all tools that Elite Sellers use to achieve top performance.

One golden nugget here is that the secret to winning deals is to transform your message into a powerful accelerator that compels customers to embrace your value proposition and make it their own.

In this competitive world, when you create and deliver a strong message that engages your customer, captivates their attention, and compels them to action, your great communication skills will help you win more deals so you can achieve even greater success.

I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com.

234 ENCORE-The Always Be Closing Myth

The Always Be Closing Myth 

The phrase “Always Be Closing” has been a sales mantra since the days when door-to-door salesmen walked from house to house in search of their next naive customer who would fall for their pushy sales pitch. 

Some sales managers might still invoke this tired old refrain by chanting “A. B. C. – Always Be Closing.”

When you hear this, here is better advice. 

Ignore “Always Be Closing.” It’s a myth. Here’s Why:

First, “Closing” implies a discrete event where the salesperson manipulates the customer with sneaky, harsh tactics that should be avoided. 

Second, a “closing” mindset implies a single, transactional event, where no relationship is being cultivated. If you have this short-term mindset, the only “positive” outcome is when you close the deal and then move on to your next “victim.” This is not how Elite sales professionals think or act.

Third, customers are much more knowledgeable and savvy when it comes to researching possible solutions. Many of them expect to perform upwards of 90 percent of their product research before even contacting salespeople. 

Instead of focusing on “closing” the deal, spend your time “opening” the relationship with your customer. Here’s how. 

1) Collaborate with your customer on the steps, the vision, and the proof points. 

2) Conduct Discovery sessions to mutually identify areas of customer need – either known or hidden issues that you have uncovered through interactive dialogue. 

3) Focus your sales process on how you can generate substantial business value for the customer. 

This approach positions you as a partner, not just a vendor… and increases your chance of winning and opening the customer relationship. 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

233 ENCORE-Help your customers buy Part 2

Help your customers buy Part 2

In the prior briefing, we discussed the customer-driven buying process. 

 

When you blindly follow the customer’s buying process, when you are on the outside, looking in… you will lose the majority of those deals. 

Now here’s a better way to help your customers buy

A much better approach is to strive, early on, to integrate your organization’s selling process with your customer’s buying process. This is a proactive approach where your sales team initiates the process, works collaboratively with your customer to determine requirements, identifies key issues that can be resolved, and formulates a proposal focused on the business value that can be generated from this initiative. 

The major steps in the integrated selling/buying process are these: 

  • Collaborate with the customer on the steps, the vision, and the proof points. 
  • Conduct Discovery sessions to mutually determine requirements with the customer. 
  • Process focuses on generating business value. 

This process positions you as a partner, not just a vendor… and increases your chance of winning. 

With this integrated process, you initiate an opportunity where the customer has not already settled on a solution. It does take a little more work, but it can be well worth it. Instead of passively reacting to each customer desire – especially when the customer might not even understand what capabilities are available in the marketplace – you can set the bar, establish yourself and your team as Proactive Advisor, and highlight the unique capabilities in your solution, all before your competitors even know about this initiative. Because you have well positioned your team and your solution up front, your organization has a much higher probability of becoming the chosen candidate. 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

232 ENCORE-Help your customers buy Part 1

Help your customers buy Part 1

Elite sales professionals and their sales teams do everything they can to control all aspects of the sales cycle.

But you still need to realize that customers will buy on their timeline, not yours. Because in the typical buying process, the customer is in control; they dictate the steps, and they define the “rules of engagement.” 

In this customer-driven process, candidates who choose to bid on an opportunity are often forced to comply with a rigorous set of rules that include limiting the level of communication with the customer. In these cases, customers may have done some research on the available alternatives, and they generally know what they want. The steps they need to receive proposals, evaluate, select, and then negotiate with their chosen candidate. 

Sometimes salespeople, in an attempt to speed the process, are tempted to throw in a special discount that is effective until a month-end or quarter-end date—but that’s an artificial deadline imposed by the sales team. If the customer is not ready to buy, the deal will not advance to a purchase. Every customer knows that the “special discount” is a desperate tactic, and most will ask for the same discount (after your fake deadline expires) as it fits their real schedule. 

This type of buying process does not help you as a sales professional. You will be captive to a process you did not choose but must follow in order to compete. If you’re unable to influence the steps and the level of customer engagement, your chance of winning is significantly reduced. 

All other things being equal, if you are hearing about an opportunity after the process and the requirements have already been established, you are probably being set up by your competitor.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com