83 Be Multi-Threaded Part 2

Be Multi-Threaded Part 2

 

The prior briefing introduced a situation where Don’s selling team was in a great position to win a deal… or so they thought… we continue below. 

 

Don’s selling team later discovered that two members of the customer’s team did not attend this meeting – – two people who were apparently influential in the decision-making process and who preferred a different solution based on prior positive experiences with this competitor.

 

After the Don’s team’s high-five celebration, the customer became unresponsive. People on the customer team stopped returning calls. Invitations to schedule time for executing the agreed-upon next steps were ignored. 

 

Don’s team later learned that the customer assigned different employees to host meetings with competing vendors. Don’s team was brought in so that the customer could complete “due diligence” by claiming to evaluate multiple solution providers prior to selecting the best fit and authorizing a new purchase. Soon, the customer’s preferred vendor solution was selected. 

 

Don’s team was just “column-fodder”—that is, in the evaluation spreadsheet, three vendors were listed in three separate columns, with their rankings entered in each column. Don’s team helped the customer complete the required last column quota. The meeting had been a total waste of their time and effort. Because Don’s contact with the customer was not multi-threaded, he was unable to gain a complete understanding of what the primary customer influencers were thinking and what solution they preferred. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll describe lessons learned from this story in the next briefing. 

 

82 Be Multi-Threaded Part 1

Be Multi-Threaded Part 1

 

In order to create meaningful customer relationships that will enable you to migrate away from transactional selling, you must build relationships with multiple people in your customer’s organization. 

 

Betting your success on a single contact in the customer’s organization is extremely dangerous. Too often, a salesperson depends on one person or entity for communication and coordination with the customer. For example, does a salesperson saying the following, raise a sales manager’s confidence level?

 

“My contact told me that we are in good shape and currently in the lead against the other vendors”… “My contact doesn’t think we need to come in for a face-to-face meeting. We can just do this over the phone.”

 

To be successful at building the type of relationships you need to create long-term associations with customers, connections in your customer organization must be “multi-threaded.” In other words, you must have multiple contacts that can be cultivated so they can advance into your internal champions or advocates. 

 

The minute you leave a customer meeting, end a web conference, or even a phone call, the dynamics of the relationship change, so it’s important to build relationships outside the chain of command. The following story amplifies why this is so important. 

 

Don walked out of a customer meeting that he and his team believed had been outstanding. Their proposed solution nailed every one of the customer’s hot-button requirements. The customer response was glowing and appeared to position Don’s solution as the clear leader. His selling team proposed an action plan containing a series of remaining steps with an expected purchase date within the current quarter. The customer’s tone during this discussion was more of “when we select your solution,” not “if we do.” The steps were agreed upon verbally by the customer. Don’s selling team even shared high-fives out in the company parking lot afterwards. They reported an excellent meeting result to their management. It was a great day . . . or so they thought.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue this story in the next briefing. 

 

81 Write it down

Write it down

 

If your customer voices a need or an important point on a topic, be sure to write it down. 

 

Whether your meeting is face-to-face, on a remote web conference, or over the phone, take time to write it down. 

 

It is preferable to write using a pen on a notepad. But it’s OK if you “write it down” on a tablet or laptop. In either case, be sure to pause and tell them that you are taking notes on important points. 

 

What to write down

– Their names and responsibilities. Some don’t like to spout their titles, and instead will tell you more about how they impact the business, and what they are working on. 

– Once a person in a meeting introduced himself as “the guy who turns off the lights at night”. No he wasn’t the janitor… I later found out he was the CEO. 

– Also, write down key points that you need to know about their business situation, perceived needs, and personal ideas. 

 

Why write it down

– It helps you stay engaged and pay attention. 

– It shows the customer that you care that what they say is important. 

– It helps you frame questions you want to ask later. 

– It will help you remember after your meeting. (Don’t assume you will automatically remember all the important points).

– The customer will notice that you took time to write down their concerns or suggestions. 

 

This reinforces the idea that you care about what the customer is saying and that you believe it is important. 

 

The customer will increasingly share information when you demonstrate that what they say is important to you. 

 

This is a great way to establish your credibility and influence.

 

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

 

80 Say What You Mean – It is what it is

Say What You Mean – It is what it is

 

Prior briefings discussed “Junk Words and Phrases” and how you should focus on eliminating them from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. Remember that Junk Words and Phrases are just extra words that creep into our language, but they provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional.

 

Here’s another one for you: “It is what it is” is a junk phrase that has crept into the business world from more informal social conversations.  

 

In the business world, this is usually an affirmative response to sum up a situation where you can’t think of anything else to say, such as the following: 

 

“We won’t be able to schedule that meeting until next month. 

 

“Sigh, Well, it is what it is.”

 

“It is what it is?” Really? Of course it is! What else could it be? How could “it” be anything different than what “it” already is?

 

Unfortunately, this meaningless, nonsensical phase is a complete waste of words and serves absolutely no purpose. 

 

If you are trying to sound smarter by spouting this junk phrase, it probably won’t work. 

 

Instead: Just skip it. Silence is a much better choice. 

 

When interacting with customers, junk phrases like this are a complete waste of oxygen. It makes you sound unsure of yourself, like you have nothing else to say. Either come up with a better response. Or say nothing. 

 

Next time you are tempted to blurt out “it is what it is”, remember that it’s a Junk Phrase that should be stricken from your vocabulary. 

 

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

79 Silence and Solitude

Silence and Solitude

 

Beginning your day with silence and solitude can help you start out to be your best. 

 

Sure, it’s extremely difficult to do. Most busy sales professionals want to just the “hit the ground running”, and you can get the feeling that if you’re not actively doing something, you might be falling behind. 

 

The quiet of the early morning helps me focus and oftentimes, it’s the only time when I can think clearly without interruptions. 

Before you do anything else in the morning, try this silence and solitude approach. 

 

– Find your quiet place

– Take ten minutes

– No music, no other noise

– Think only positive thoughts (your successes, how great it is to be in sales). Don’t let negative thoughts or problems penetrate your mind. 

– Think of this as a stream of consciousness to give you a keen sense of self-awareness and realization of the gifts you have been given.

– Take time to give thanks – you are in a great vocation and have the opportunity to make a huge difference in your life, your family’s, your company, and your customers.

 

Here’s what I’ve found: 

– It takes discipline to build awareness and re-focus your mindset every day.

– Self-reflection can serve as an essential tool in your success.

– Make it like the drumbeat of a cadence so it becomes a habit (like your forecasting calls).

– Slowing down in the morning actually speeds you up later and can multiply what you can accomplish the rest of the day. 

 

Use Silence and Solitude to place yourself in a positive mindset early in the morning and you will be on your way to making it a great day. 

 

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