Sales Thought: If you are not getting where you want to go on a particular Sales Situation, change your Angle of Attack

I always find it interesting when sellers tell me they have no opportunity at a Particular Account. I always ask the Typical questions that anyone in a Coaching position would ask, but this is the one that I really hone in on:

“Have you tried go after the account in a Different way than other Sellers have- either through another Person or with a different Message?”

We call this changing the Angle of Attack. While a Military Term, it comes out in Sales all the time. Since we have talked about the Usual manners of going after an account, this one is more about going where it would be different information for that potential Buyer or would help you possibly get into the account from a different perspective. Hence the use of the Name “Angle of Attack.” In combat, particularly but not limited to Aerial Combat, Pilots are often in need of going after the Target in a Different way, or from a different Angle. A Head on Approach may seem like the best way, but if it does not work, what do you? Do you just keep hammering away at the target, or perhaps it is time to change what you do!

So, don’t think you are out of the game until you have completely worked all angles. By Going different ways, you may find that you open up new Interest from Areas that had not been interested before. As such, you may not be getting to the end of the Sale in a “Traditional” manner, but it does not matter.

As is stated often in Sports “A Win is a Win.” May not be Traditional, or Pretty, but Sellers should take advantage of any Angle to get in and get engaged with an Account. Most Sales Managers only Keep Score of Wins and Losses. They don’t usually care how it happens as long as it happens. I am not suggesting anything Unethical or Illegal. But keep trying to go different ways and you may surprise yourself with a Different approach.

Sales Thought: Never underestimate the Power of References in Selling

Selling in this day and age is more challenging and competitive than ever. As such, one of the most important things Sellers can do is to have Stories at the Ready to make sure that they can refer to them on each and every sales situation.

This is invariably a source of controversy with people as they will often say “I don’t have an Existing Customer that has the same Problem as my Current Prospect.” To which I say “Perhaps not, but you forget the 3 Major Elements in any Sale:

1. Did you form a Relationship with the Customer?
2. Did the Customer understand the Value in what they bought from you?
3. Was the Customer successful in using the Product to solve a Business Issue?

Its now always about an Exact fit of Product/Service. Reference Selling is not Just based on the Product, it is based on these 3 Elements. Prospects want to know that you address all 3 of these issues, and you are not just there to Close the Sale. It may not be an Exact Match, but Look around and see who you have previously sold to that can be Positive about these Elements about you and your company. It may not be perfect, but it will likely go a long way to shoring up your Credibility with this Prospect.

Also, consider that when you are selling, it is not just about “Can my Product help this Prospect?” It is about the Track Record you and your Company will have built up. Finally, in the early stages of a Sale, you can speak to the Customer about that Track Record in such a way that they really see that you “Get It.”

Selling is a Multi-Level Endeavor. Make sure you have answers on 3 of these: Relationship, Value, and Customer Success.

That will take you down the right path as a Seller

Sales Thought: Vacations Come and Go – Great Sellers keep Momentum Going!

Frequent Readers of this Blog will remember this Phrase:

“Stay on the Radar”

This time of year, I hear much about the nature of Vacations and their impact on Deals. While this is true to a degree, Great Sellers Plan for it and make sure that they are planning for it as part of their on-going efforts.

Focus on the End Game for each situation. Is the End Game the opportunity close? Perhaps. But for Great Sellers, they are playing shots and shots ahead. As such, the make sure that they do not play their hand in such a manner as to give Buyers a reason to slow down.

One Technique I encourage is the Time Line To Go Live. This strategy puts the onus Equally on the Seller as well as the Buyer to keep Momentum moving. If you don’t, you will run the risk of both sides not getting what they want. Think about it:

Seller: Wants to close this opportunity, and perhaps get set up for the next one.
Buyers: Wishes to get Value from what they are going to be paying for.

Lay out the Steps in an integrated timeline side by side. It will help you both Keep focused on how you are going to get to the end of the Process.

By Integrating the Steps in the process, it helps both sides remember why that were engaged in the first place. Without this, you run the risk of losing track of the End Game from both sides. The Seller and Buyer can be equally motivated to make things happen.

Vacation time should be built in to this process as well. Plan for it and Plan around it. Don’t Ignore it or Forget about it. And DON’T lose Momentum by acting like it is a Surprise.

Sales Thought: Elements of Strategic Selling include Questions, Listening, and Coordination

Sales Thought: Strategic Selling is great, but Key Components include Strategic Questions, Strategic Listening, and Resource Coordination – are these Elements part of your Sales Process?

Everyone talks Strategic Selling, but it is better to look at Elements and see if your Sale Process/Methodology Includes these items are ALWAYS part of what you do- no matter the size or length of the Sales Process?

Strategic Questions: These are NOT questions about the Demand for your product or Service on the Face Value of what it is. They are, instead, the nature of Why and How. Why does this Demand Exist for your Product/Service NOW? Why not last year? Why Not Next Year? How Might the Customer go about satisfying this Demand- it may be your product, or it may be for a Competitor’s product. Understanding these items will help you get inside the Customer’s underlying reasons for talking with you in the first place.

Strategic Listening: Not just taking a note when the Prospect answers a question: It is understanding not just the answer but if the Answer has other meanings built in to it. Strategic Listening will provide you many of the things that are not said. You can learn much by the way a Question is answered and the Language that is used. It is is about the Body Language used as well.

Resource Coordination: Selling is in almost all cases, a Team Sport. There are not many Commando Sales People left in this world, and they are not typically able to do it all themselves anyway. So, the faster you learn to Coordinate with others who are there to help you in the Sales Process, the better you will be.

By the way, for those of you out there who think that “As the Seller, I am in Control of the Sales Cycle.” I have really Bad News: Control is an Illusion – the most you can hope for in most organizations is Coordination.

So, see if you are taking the three Elements that are listed here as part of your work. If not, then you likely are not really doing all you can to Execute in the Sales Cycles that you in right now.

Sales Thought: Sellers who spend their time Listening more than Talking usually Win!

It is not a new thought, but Sellers who spend their time doing MORE listening than talking are usually the winners in most all sales situations.

Listening does not mean not adding value to the conversation, Sellers should be prepared to Start a Conversation but to rapidly get the get the Potential Buyer doing most of the Talking. Sometimes, Sellers feel that they have to Carry every conversation. In this day and age of Selling with, and vastly more educated Buyer, my suggestion is that a more Balanced approach to the Sales Process be in place.

Going in, confirm what what the Potential Buyer knows and does not know. Then, determine the way you Manage the Sales Process. A few good words to establish the process may be:

“As we discussed prior to this discussion…..”
“As you read from our Website….”
“As you told me when we first talked…..”

In any event, Set the Stage for an Interactive Conversation. Make sure they know that you are not just there to “Show up and Throw Up.” You are looking for an interactive conversation and want them to take some Responsibility for what goes on during the meeting.

Anytime a Prospective Buyer says: “Just show me what you have,” you are likely already in trouble prior to the start of the conversation. There are very few Products or Services that are good enough to “Wow” people enough to buy them, without a carefully crafted, well structured, and thoughtful Sales Process.

A Goal can be to get the Potential Buyer to “Take Over” the conversation by properly doing the right combination of of Speaking and Listening.