EP Huddle #54
Whether you're new to sales or you've been calling on accounts for years, you definitely know that you want to impress your customer by putting your best foot forward, and showcasing all of the things you can do to help them solve problems.
Salespeople are wired to always service a potential client. Unfortunately, it's far too common that a salesperson will say anything to close a deal. Here are a few tips of things you're probably doing that are hurting, instead of helping you.
As a team:
Come up with a list of the 5 most common scenarios where you feel you need to say "yes", but shouldn't. How can you overcome this challenge? What opportunities are there to highlight the positives while still staying honest and telling the customer their request isn't possible?
EP Huddle #42
Solution selling is the type of selling that involves building rapport with a customer, understanding their true needs and challenges, and being able to match a service or product to help them improve.
In solution sales, it's critical to understand the customer's pain and be able to truly identify the correct path to resolve the issues. It may be your product, it may not be. It may be a customized job you can do for them, it may not be. Regardless, in many businesses today, it's important to have the opportunity to talk with your prospect and have an honest conversation to understand what their problems are and what they think they need. Then, you can see if what you do can help them.
Here's the challenge though. It's of the utmost importance that a salesperson is able to effectively ask questions and truly listen to the responses given by a customer. Not just expect a certain answer and then move on to the next question. I mean, the dialogue has to be very open and the salesperson needs to truly understand every word that a prospective buyer is saying. If this isn't done properly, the entire idea of solution selling goes away and now the salesperson is simply trying to sell whatever product or service he/she typically sells.
Here's a silly example from myself while growing up. I've always been an effective communicator with adults. As a teenager, I would be around my family and the guys would be talking about various things. i can remember an example of my uncles telling each other golf stories. They'd say things like, "and then I found myself behind an oak tree, but I was only 90 yards from the pin so I grabbed my pitching wedge and swung as hard as I could to bend it around the tree. You know how that played out..." Everyone laughed and said, "we sure do". What we meant was, we figured the ball hit the tree, or didn't bend, or something.
But, did we really know the exact outcome of the story? No. In fact, I think we were nicely agreeing with the storyteller because we wanted to share in his agony and "fit-in". But, as a teenager who didn't golf much, I didn't actually know what happened, other than the same assumptions the other uncles were making.
In sales, this is a big mistake. Too often we find ourselves agreeing with someone just to fit-in and make it look like "we've been there". But, this does the opposite of what we're trying to accomplish. We want to listen for any signal that we might not know exactly what the person is saying. And, then ask a follow-up question based on that comment. So, 20 years ago I should have asked what happened to the ball. Did he par the whole or take a bogey or double bogey? What lessons can I learn from his shot selection mistake?
Truly listen, don't just amicably agree that you "understand" what they're saying. You don't, and you shouldn't pretend like it or else you're risking the opportunity have amazing clarity, and in-turn provide amazing service and truly sell a valuable solution.
As a team:
Talk about examples of times when you've made assumptions or not thoroughly listened to prospects. How did that hurt your ability to sell? Maybe you don't know, but you'll most likely come up with a few possibilities. Also talk about common ways that relationship driven extroverts typically stop listening to try and fit-in with the crowd. How can you prevent this in the future when talking with potential customers about their challenges? Remember, though you've talked with people who might have similar challenges, every single prospect will have a different story and thoroughly listening is the only way to understand their unique perspective.
EP Huddle #27
Enterprise sales involves a lot of moving pieces and typically high value price tags. Selling large deals require a good deal of creativity, confidence and ability to navigate complex environments.
One of the best ways to launch a large sale is to partner with a new customer and perform a short term pilot to showcase how you can help satisfy their needs. If you offer a pilot program to try and increase your potential customer base, you're probably aware how important these offers are, yet you also probably know how challenging they can be to run effectively.
Here are a few suggestions if you offer a pilot to help customers try your services.
As a team:
What baseline products or services can you offer in a pilot program without getting too involved in customization? How do you need to structure your pricing to ensure you're not losing money, or losing possible customers?
Talk with your team about who's responsible for which pieces of the pilot. How will IT integrate with the customer? What role does sales have? Service? Does your founder/CEO/management get involved? If so, at what point? Does your management team need to sign-off on pilots? If the answer is yes, then what information does the person crafting the pilot need to know and present before a pilot can be initiated?
Make a list of the responsibilities your customer will have to ensure this pilot is successful. If you've completed pilots successfully in the past, look back at those customers and find out what they had in common and come up with a list of requirements for future customers. Make sure you know what you need to get them to commit to in order for this to be successful.
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