311 Are You Selling a Product or a Solution?

Are You Selling a Product or a Solution 

 

Early in my career, I was a blue-collar salesperson, wearing a hardhat, walking the shop floor through manufacturing plants. I sold a product that tracked the quality of the production on a single machine. I usually talked to just one person – a quality engineer or shop foreman. I spent 15 minutes demonstrating the product, and usually won the sale. 

 

Later in my career, I transitioned to selling enterprise software solutions. During this transformation, I had to learn all the aspects of selling solutions, not just a simple, single product. It was a long and difficult process but ended up being a very rewarding experience for me. 

 

What are you selling?

 

During a sales training session with a client, one sales leader advised his team to “Sell your solution to their problem, not your product”. Wise words indeed, that changed their approach. 

 

This simple advice shifted their mindset. Rather than touting product features and functionality, their new mindset became:

  • Positioning their sales team as consultants and advisors who were engaged to help their customer 
  • Understanding their customer’s needs before pushing their products. 
  • Determining the business value the customer will realize after implementation.
  • Proving the business justification based on the value
  • Connecting solution benefits to their unique solution capabilities.  

 

Selling your solution to their problem makes you different and better than most transactional salespeople. 

 

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

310 What is Your Mantra?

What is your Mantra

 

A common question I ask sales leaders is “What is your mantra?” 

 

Some just reply with a pat answer that mimics their company mission statement. But regurgitating a bunch of market-tested statements that are supposed to trigger the goals and purpose and ideals of a company is not what I was looking for. 

 

When I asked one elite sales leader “What is your mantra?” here is what he told me. 

 

“For our Mantra, we created something so simple, so easily understandable, it cannot be misunderstood. There is not any question or ambiguity about this. 

 

Our Mantra defines how we operate. It is insight that our sales teams rally around and get excited about. 

 

Then he continued… Here is our Mantra:

Number 1 – You’re empowered, you’re accountable, and you’re customer focused. 

 

Number 2 – Hope is not a strategy. If it’s not documented, it’s not real. 

 

Number 3 – Have a plan, work your plan, and execute your plan.”

 

That’s it. Three key points that streamline decision-making and focuses team communication. Don’t just wing it. Think through and document your selling strategies to help you advance sales opportunities and win more deals. 

 

If you want to be the King, wear the crown! 

 

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

 

309 Conquering the Risks in Sales

Conquering the Risks in Sales

There will always be a need for talented sales professionals to drive customer engagement and win lucrative business. However, if you spend most of your day working on tasks that are amenable to automation, your career in the sales field is vulnerable. The threat to automating sales functions is real, and if you don’t pay attention, you could be relegated to lower-paying positions or be forced out of your sales career altogether. 

You might be responding with skepticism. But every prior industrial revolution has involved prior jobs being eliminated due to automation. Do you really want to take a chance and ignore the obvious signs? 

While a Selling Revolution is clearly on its way, the intent here is not to raise alarms but to help you survive as a sales professional and even prosper during this transformation. It is a call to action, sounding the warning cry for two critical reasons. 

First, you need to be aware that changes are coming, and 

Second, you need to sharpen your skill set, embrace the technologies that will increase your productivity, and become empowered to achieve even greater success.

Those who survive will need to have a laser focus on continuously developing and retaining elite selling skills. This includes building and refining great communication skills, developing industry expertise, and adopting many of the lessons you are introduced to in these flash briefings. 

Master these skills and you will have the opportunity to become an Elite Seller, one who will strengthen customer relationships, win more business, and be well-positioned to achieve your career and financial goals even in the face of some turbulent times ahead.

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

 

308 Risks in sales – The Bottom Line

Risks in sales – The Bottom Line 

 

The Bottom Line

If you achieve your quota, nothing else matters.

If you fail to achieve your quota, nothing else matters.

 

This maxim often represents sales management’s approach to measuring sales performance. It also signifies a stark reality for every sales professional. 

 

While situations are not always this simplistic, it is imperative to management that the sales team generates enough revenue so their organization achieves profit goals, continues to fuel growth, and secures the future viability of the company. Building and maintaining a strong pipeline of leads and qualified sales opportunities are key metrics that are tracked and monitored by sales management. Because of that, sales management should be constantly building and maintaining a strong pipeline of sales professionals who can progress from a new hire to a productive sales professional—and, for some, to the pinnacle of their profession as an elite performer. Your challenge is how to develop your skills so you can be a part of the next generation of elite sales professionals who can thrive in their selling career. 

 

You will continuously monitor and adapt to the stressors induced by the changing competitive landscape, the dynamics of your market, and the advancement of your primary competitors. 

 

Each of these factors are dynamic and will require that you anticipate in advance how you will be impacted by these changes. Status quo will leave you falling behind and diminish your potential to stay on top of your game. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing. 

307 Risks in sales – Customer Service Issues

Risks in sales – Customer Service Issues 

 

Risk: Your customer service issues  

 

Your company’s customer service approach to dealing with problems presents a risk to your sales career. 

 

Let’s say you sold a deal to a customer who planned to roll out your solution to other divisions over a period of time… But problems arose during the initial implementation… Your product was not performing as it should have… This could delay or cancel the planned future roll out and jeopardize your future sales revenue stream from that customer. 

 

This could be very disheartening, since you might have spent substantial time and sales cycles with that customer, with the belief that your time investment would be rewarded with future sales. 

 

Usually, you will not be able to fix the customer service issues alone… but you should definitely raise the flag and make sure that your executives understand the problem and will assign resources to correct it. This is a time for you to be proactive and communicate the urgency of the situation to your executives, while keeping an open line of communication with your customer so they know that you and your company are doing everything possible to correct the situation. Your company and your sales career at the company might depend on how you helped solve the problem. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing.