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Part III: Where Have All the Big Customers Gone?

by Kevin D. Crone

March 3, 2014

The successful, big-sale achiever who dominates the production reports has a new style that makes customers/prospects learn something they didn’t know about their business before. The smart salesperson actually coaches a client, versus trying to immediately sell them. He/she customizes coaching messages to the customer’s wants, motives, issues, priorities and goals. In other words, they zero in on what stakeholders/buyers in their customers’ organization really care about. Their coaching isn’t the same for everyone.

These salespeople customize their coaching to segmented markets and/or groups who have similar needs. They begin by giving interruptive perspectives and shed new light on their customers’ persistent business problems, and reveal capabilities the stakeholders didn’t realize they had.

These salespeople stand their ground when customers push back and keep emphasizing the need, and the value, rather than the price. The normally risk-averse buyer, through the use of effective human relations, is pushed to do the right thing for their business. The effective salesperson controls by choreographing the conversations in advance.

Again, only 27 percent of the many sales types out there are these high-value creators, yet they produce over 50 percent of the big, complex sales. About 60 percent of salespeople could be developed into these high-stake performers, though. Of customers surveyed, 53 percent value the advice, insights, and knowledge about trends and the ongoing consulting from salespeople – not just product pitches, nice service calls or time-consuming, consultative solution approaches.

Customers are so tired of the blah, blah, blah about the salesperson’s business benefits that are typically spewed by 73 percent of the sales types. They don’t even want the solutions-type salesperson who goes to great lengths to uncover needs before they propose a solution. Customers believe that they know their own needs and that they can get practically all of what most salespeople offer from the Internet.

Only 38 percent of customers stay loyal because of service, brand, and a highly differentiated product. Only 14 percent can actually see the unique difference in what providers communicate. There are 62 percent who feel everyone is the same and seek out the extra coaching that the high-value, interruptive, conversation-controller salesperson gives, and they’re more apt to buy from them “now” and over time and, eventually become an internal and external advocate.

It behooves organizations with a few leaders who still have fire in the belly to take their company to the future. Those who want to grow their business, to change what they do and how they sell, regardless of how unconventional this style seems to be, can be the leaders. How to start? By getting a team together to listen to their customers, re-figuring their offering and ensuring it provides the cost-saving or revenue-producing answers that their business-to-business customers want and need.

Next step is to figure out and make sure their business/commercial strategy includes how to provide the interruptive, advice-giving, coaching sales model instead of offering “only” a good relationship, or service, or even solution-selling models. It’s critical to prepare the sales team with the new perspectives and points of view, and scripted, high-value sales model training. They need a group to research and listen for what customers overlook or under-appreciate. They need to gather hard data and even anecdotal facts as to what is missing that would shake their customers awake at the beginning of sales calls. In addition, they need to re-formulate sales stories and base them on the unique benefits that would show and convince prospective customers why they should buy from them.

Hardly any salesperson I’ve met could tell you their company’s unique value proposition, business strategy, or why customers should buy from them with any real insight, so figuring all this out with a team helps to fix the business as a whole, not just the sales strategy. Sales managers should be trained or coached to advance this strategy by being creative designers of messages to segmented target groups who have the same needs, and then coach their people on their presentations. These successful sales managers show them how to readjust their messaging/story as they go armed into the field. These sales managers need to help salespeople analyze their customers’ issues and any obstacles standing in the way of their clients’ success.

In this very difficult environment, where big-ticket sales are hard to come by, you need to get more skilled in waking up your customers with completely new strategies and skills to sell to a more risk-averse business-to-business buyer who has what looks like an acute case of ADD. Are you up for it? The sales game has changed.

Practically every business is seen as a commodity. Buyers don’t see your difference. They actually don’t believe they need salespeople to buy. They want something different.

As you’ve heard many times before, for things to change, you have to change. There is no other way. Yet, it is exciting to create something new, for it gets the competitive juices going, and the involvement of others can be very gratifying.

MMM Action:

•    What insight(s) did you get this morning?
•    What can you do to move forward?

If you want to hear more research and get help in figuring out the details of how to change, I encourage you to come to our Center of Excellence on Tuesday, March 18th, 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. Reserve here.

My son and I will take you through what it takes to transform your team into more competitive performance. Don’t miss this dialogue.

Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
(905) 826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032
A Special Invitation from Kevin D. Crone, Canada’s Monday Morning Mentor…

There was a day when sales worked!

In those days:

  • Product peddlers could start pitching with their product benefits and people would listen.
  • Whether salespeople dropped in or had appointments to see what their prospects or customers needed and take orders, buyers would give them the time!
  • Even professional solution-sellers could stop in to see customers, and the client would appreciate the visits and the solutions that were found for them!

No more.  Traditional sales don’t work the way they used to.  How are you supposed to grow your business these days? Now what?

There was a day – not too long ago – when being a thought leader would get you fans who trusted you and eventually they would go to you, as long as you could be seen on the Internet and through social media.

Well, where are the leads now? The sales?

The Internet has changed everything. Customers already know what their problems are, and they’re looking for solutions – but not from marketing, and not even from the very best solution-salesperson. Sales and marketing have changed and a lot of traditional methods are no longer panning out.

We have been engaged in a world-wide research project to find out more specifically what’s going on. We are now ready to share some data that will explain not only what happened, but the ways in which we all have to adjust to find and keep customers.

There are new ways to sell and market. We will explain it all to you at our next Executive Coaching Series – March 18th.

Kevin D. Crone, Canada’s Monday Morning Mentor, and his son, Kevin Robert Crone, will be revealing that research along with a possible action plan for those who can see the need to adapt.

Please join our Executive Coaching Series:

The New Sales/Marketing Transition
Tuesday, March 18th
2:30 – 5:00 pm
Dale Carnegie Center of Excellence
2121 Argentia Road, Suite 103
Mississauga, Ontario

Register Here.

As always, you will enjoy Kevin’s style, the peer conversation and the insights revealed in the new research.

If you have questions, please email Chee Vang at cvang@dalecarnegie.ca or call our office at 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032.


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Read past issues in the Monday Morning Mentor Blog.

Consider this: Contact us today to speak to one of our Performance Consultants about the one or two things you need to change to have a better life/career/business.

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