When you go to an event with friends you always end up meeting new people. Whether you are at a ball game or a BBQ, it is inevitable that someone is going to ask “What do you do?”. This is your chance to either amaze them or repeat the boring paragraph HR used when describing your position.
Here is a great response to “What do you do?”.
“Do you know what your most valuable asset is? Most people make mention of their home, cars or other high value possessions. Although those are valuable your most important asset is your future income. This is the income you will make over the life of your professional career. My job is to protect that income by limiting your exposure from liabilities such as your home, auto and yourself.”
From that response you want to know more about what the person does and you also want to ask questions to see if that person could potentially provide value for you.
Much more powerful then the standard “I sell insurance” response.
CC image: ‘Elevator Doors’ by Ricardo Diaz
When you look at a Swiss army knife you quickly realize it is more than a knife. With a corkscrew, tweezers, screwdriver and can opener, it is clear, this is a tool capable of many functions.
When you offer your customers products or services what sets you apart? Do you take the knife approach, only there to help with one thing? Or are you the tool, capable of helping your customer with a variety of tasks?
You may be a great “knife”, but customers are looking for support in a variety of ways. They are looking for a tool that can help them get more done with their limited resources.
In this case, being a tool is a good thing.
How many times have you been in a selling situation where the sales person tells you how great they are and how much they can help your business grow? The sales person is there to swoop down from the sky and save the day. They never stop to ask if you need saving. In fact most have no idea what your organization is trying to to accomplish, fix or avoid.
The sales person is not the hero in the sales process, the prospect is. The role of the sales person is to mentor the prospect giving them the tools they need to be the hero in their organization.
How can your solutions help your prospects become heroes?
Don’t be a wireless phone company, always fighting over plans and rates. They always battle over the same points and victory is never assured.
Instead focus on what makes you different that provides value to your prospect. Focus on areas where your competition cannot compete with you, if they try they will lose.
Check out how this event company used zombies to set themselves apart from other competitive events being offered.
What is your zombie?
Also check out this cool write up they had in the Wall Street Journal.
Careful, you could get burned. BIG TIME.
Well, sales training “starts and stops”… and often ends up as a “pump me up” day or session, where, at best, sales people walk away with a “good feeling” and are fired up.
The fire dies though, and it doesn’t even take water… just a couple of days, a week or two at max… and it’s back to the same ‘ol usual order-taking.
Sales training starts and stops, and therein likes the problem: there’s no development, there’s no cultural change.
Train (v.):“to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient”
Develop (v.): “to make active or promote the growth of”
“Training” can be dangerous. I like a salesperson ACTIVE, and I most certainly like to help them GROW their skillsets.
Who cares about classroom work; terminate and cancel all of your “teaching.”
If you’re concerned about the quality of your sales force, you’ll invest in a METHODOLOGY that drives development and true cultural change.
Dude, you gotta HIT ‘EM HARD.
If you wanna learn all the different “buying styles” of “Executives,” then there’s plenty of info/reading out there.
But whatever the experts tell you, most of us are “Big Picture.”
Don’t go through features and benefits in front of me. Don’t tell me about your “value proposition.” Don’t tell me how you’re better than your competitor (perfect sales-guy move to devalue your product, by-the-way).
Just stop talking.
Ask a few questions so you understand what I’m trying to Accomplish, Fix, or Avoid… that is, take some time to understand WHAT PROBLEM AM I TRYING TO SOLVE?
And then… just TELL ME WHAT YOU DO, that helps me solve said problem.
It’s that simple.
Explain to me the ways in which you’re going to make our organization more efficient, and more effective.
Help me understand how you’re going to help us continue to invest in our PEOPLE, and give them the right tools to succeed.
Just tell me WHAT YOU DO.
Be Original. Knock me out. Sock me in the jaw.
Here’s one of the most powerful quotes from the great Andrew Carnegie:
“Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.”
If you’re taking the time to create a Customer-Centric Culture, the same can be said about your sales organization.
Be like Carnegie. Invest in your people.
Create a Culture of Drive.
A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.
Too many times salespeople clutter up the sales process with junk that doesn’t matter.
Focus on the Customer’s Concept: what the customer is looking to accomplish, fix or avoid.
Don’t deform the stocking.
Check out the following message from the MarComm Director at Miller Heiman:
“… just wanted to let you know that we’ll be launching the 2011 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study next Tuesday. Study participants will receive a copy of the 2010 executive summary as well as a brand new report that looks at year over year comparisons from our research data: ‘The Performance Value of a World-Class Sales Process.’
If you want to offer your blog readers the chance to participate, I’m happy to send a link to the study you can leverage.”
Here’s the link: www.millerheiman.com/research.
This is an excellent report that Miller Heiman offers to its clients/partners each year; and well worth your time to participate and receive the aforementioned studies/data!
A product-centric company says, “Check out my cool sales pitch…”
A customer-centric company thinks, “I don’t really know what I’m selling, until I understand what he’s buying.”
One of these business models is sustainable; the other isn’t.