241 ENCORE-Be the Master of Ceremonies – Part 3

As Master of Ceremonies, Efficiently Manage your time with the Customer 

Rachel was just about to open a meeting with her customer when one of the high-ranking executives at the company walked into the meeting, abruptly stating that she had only fifteen minutes available, and asked Rachel to cover just the highlights. 

To deal with this type of scenario, Rachel had prepared beforehand to summarize her major points in an “executive summary.” The executive summary is a brief overview illustrating why you are unique and what business value you provide.

Rachel handled this situation brilliantly and used the change in agenda to her advantage. Before the high-ranking executive left the meeting, Rachel committed to reaching out to the executive in a few days to address any open items and explain the next steps the meeting attendees agreed on. It was brilliant and this helped Rachel establish a relationship with the executive.  

You should always plan to have an executive summary prepared in advance… you should be able to deliver this in 15 minutes or less. You will experience the inevitable times when you must get your message across in far less time than planned. Whether an interruption occurs at the beginning of your meeting or right in the middle, you can quickly pivot to your executive summary and deliver it in the most compelling way possible. While it might appear to be a distraction to you, it could become the most important part of your meeting. 

I’m DJ Sebastian. In the next briefing, I’ll continue discussing the best ways I’ve found to demonstrate leadership as Master of Ceremonies.

240 ENCORE- Be the Master of Ceremonies – Part 2

Be the Master of Ceremonies – Part 2

As Master of Ceremonies, Ensure Your Team Is Well Prepared

Don’t assume your team will automatically fulfill every customer-related task without input on your part. Be sure you communicate the following to your team: 

– Your game plan (that is, your strategy) for winning.

– A “playbook” containing the information needed to prepare—background information, business issues, and key messages that must be conveyed. 

– Your expectations for the end result.

– Milestones for each step and when the team needs to deliver.

Facilitate Each Meeting

Set the agenda, engage the right attendees from your sales team, effectively manage the time for events, and document every item needed for follow-up. Where possible, plan to finish before the allotted time. After all, no one ever complained that a meeting was too short. 

When your meeting includes multiple speakers from your team, it’s important for you to manage the transitions between speakers smoothly. Here’s an example of how to do just that.

– Rich was the master of ceremonies for a meeting that also included Amy and Raj, members of his sales team. Amy’s role was to discuss effective marketing campaigns. Raj’s role was to review the progress of a current project with this customer related to establishing a new digital marketing platform. 

– After Amy made her closing statement, Rich took the floor and ensured that no questions remained, then he made this reinforcing point: “This new capability can help you build more effective marketing campaigns at a much lower cost.” 

Rich then introduced the next topic: “Now Raj will give us an update on the digital marketing project.” 

While two completely separate topics were being discussed in the meeting, Rich orchestrated a smooth transition and kept the meeting on track.

I’m DJ Sebastian. In the next briefing, I’ll continue discussing the best ways I’ve found to demonstrate leadership as Master of Ceremonies.

239 ENCORE-Be the Master of Ceremonies – Part 1

Be the Master of Ceremonies – Part 1

The Elite Seller performs as the Master of Ceremonies and plays a vital role in every customer interaction. While other members of the sales team are also important, you as the leader of the sales cycle must call the plays, make key decisions, and direct your sales team every step of the way. The Elite Seller, like a good quarterback in American football, is an orchestrator, responsible for implementing the team strategy put in place by coaches to optimize the chance of winning. 

The Master of Ceremonies ensures that all team members are in proper position to execute the plays as called. They are proactive, take decisive action, and adjust when the situation changes. 

Conversely, a defensive back in American football is responsible for stopping the opposing offense from advancing down the field. They anticipate the initial movement of the offense, then quickly back-pedal to move into the correct coverage area on the defensive side of the field. The defensive back must react and respond to every move taken by the opposing team. Being in a defensive position is not a desirable place for the sales professional in selling pursuits. 

Make your leadership evident in every interaction with your customer and with your sales team. Make sure your sales team understands this key:

Show up on time. Show up prepared.

Or don’t even bother to show up at all.

Showing up means coming to every activity fired up, prepared, and ready to make a difference in your customer’s business – establish your personal value right up front. 

Showing up prepared means that you take ownership of key events. Don’t leave the details to others and just assume they will it get done. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian. In the next three briefings, I’ll discuss the best ways I have found to demonstrate leadership Master of Ceremonies.

238 ENCORE-Expertise can be your enemy

Expertise can be your enemy

Mike Bosworth, Sales Guru, Author, and Speaker, said this: 

“Expertise can be your enemy!”

Early in his career, Mike was the top sales executive at Xerox, and he relayed this story. 

Years ago, Xerox Corporation had one of the absolute best sales forces and the best sales training programs in the world. Back then, they hired new batches of elite college graduates six times a year, put them through six weeks of product training, then sent them on the road to sell. 

Sales management tracked the sellers’ performance as these new hires got better and better each month. But in 18 months, they would all go into a slump. 

Here’s what their analysis showed. As long as the seller did not have full expertise on their solutions, a buyer would start talking about a problem, the seller had no choice but to ask questions like 

“Help me understand your problem” or

“Why do you think this happens?” or 

“What have you tried to do to solve this in the past?” 

But at 18 months on the job, the reps gained full solution expertise, so as soon as the buyer gets a few words out of their mouth, the seller blurts out, 

“Ah, we see this all the time. “Here’s what you need.”

The sellers started “premature elaboration”, that is arriving at a solution prior to diagnosing customer needs. It shuts down dialogue. 

That full solution expertise is what put them into a slump. 

So, instead of leading with “Oh, we see that all the time”, the sellers were trained to come back and say, 

“Can I share a story with you about somebody else who had the exact same problem?”

This approach will help you avoid having your expertise become your enemy… and avoid a sales slump. 

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

237 ENCORE-Know Your Customer's Business

Know your customer’s business

Jim is an Elite Seller, one of the best sales professionals I’ve had the good fortune to know. 

Jim has an uncanny ability to build successful strategies that generated substantial business value for the customer as well as being rewarded with significant sales revenue for his company. 

He managed major global accounts and his responsibility spanned every operating division. He diligently mapped out how best to pursue each division.

Central to his approach is to build great relationships with his  customers in every region. His customer advocates regularly reached out to him to get information about the solutions other divisions were considering or implementing. That’s right, Jim often knew more about the customer’s business than the customer’s own people did. He was the ultimate Proactive Advisor.  

Here are ways for you to learn as much about your customer as possible, then use that knowledge in your selling efforts. 

Map out your ideal customer based on your solution capabilities. Pick 4 or 5 key areas, then match that up with your accounts. 

Then, for each selected account, identify: 

  • What is their Go-To-Market strategy? Do they sell direct to customers or through channels and affiliates?
  • What are their major brands and how is each brand positioned to compete in their markets?
  • Are they managed globally or regionally? More importantly, where are major decisions made and who makes them? Do regional operations have the autonomy to make decisions and decide on solutions, or is there a corporate standard that must be followed?

This will serve as a start for you to know your customer’s business. Once you’ve collected enough information, you can map out how best to pursue each division. Just like my friend, Jim!

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