High growth businesses take a strategic approach to selling

08/04/2011

I am determined to shift the myth that goes with the term selling. Our great nation has never placed the same importance on this vital management activity as say the US. In the UK I still believe that selling is viewed as being the mucky end of the stick, the reality is, if as an entrepreneur you can’t sell – your business will never reach its true potential. It still amazes me that no enterprise policy maker has quite understood this and put it on the agenda. High growth companies are great at selling, period.

The challenge I believe comes with the definition. For many, the term salesman, conjures up images of a spiv in a sharp suit turning up with only one aim – to get the order what ever it takes. This is not strategic selling. Great sales people have a particular mindset:

  1. They Live in the Customers World – this means that the starting point of any negotiation places the customers views and needs at the heart of the debate. The professional sales person is a consultant; this means they have intimate knowledge and understanding of how their products and services can solve their prospects problems.
  2. They think Win – Win – Recognition without any shadow of a doubt that solving a customer’s problem comes at a price. They truly believe in the value they are bringing to their customer.  As well as the customer winning and getting what they desire, fair reward is paramount to the salesman. This makes closing a natural thing to happen. Anything but a win-win will fail to build long-lasting relationships

Over the last few weeks I have spoken at some 5 events trying to get this message over. It still amazes me how many entrepreneurs struggle with the concept of selling and how many break out in a cold sweat when they even think about closing a deal.

I keep trying to reinforce the point that before turning up you must convince yourself that your offerings will be of benefit to the customer. If you don’t belief it and you signal this to your customer or prospect through your voice or body language, then don’t be surprised if they become disengaged. Whether it’s a phone call you are making, face-to-face presentation or pitch – getting your head into gear is vital. This means you must keep telling yourself what you have to offer will make a difference and add value to the customers personal or business situation.

 

 


High impact selling – a proven model!

14/11/2010

Anyone involved in  sales and marketing will know about features and benefitsa legacy of the 70’s/80’s and 90’s school of selling. Whilst the underpinning principle in my view is sound – today we find customers are more discerning, wanting for far more, often for less ! Over the past few years I have been exploring how the old school of selling (F & B) can be fused with a more powerful channel to communicating propositions – this has led me to adding impact and evidence to the old ways of doing things. I believe that when we combine F and B with I and E an extremely intense message is emitted to customers. Next time you are in a sales situation think about:

Impact – can you validate to customers: return on investment (ROI), cost savings, efficiencies, when you can demonstrate impact in terms of facts and figures the credibility of your proposition is just positioned on a new level – for example if you are an advertising agency, can you show the impact of your services on the clients budget of £X will give a return of £5X

Evidence – telling the customer that you are great is superficial and generic – in the case of the advertising agency the evidence should be – the names of three clients that have benefitted from the services and indeed the added value brought to bear. Such an approach to selling is clear – there is no ambiguity.

I have observed  many businesses embrace this F.B.I.E model of selling and proposition marketing . It can be applied to telesales, web communications, pitches and any other form of business development. When you think in terms of FBIE your messages become crisper and to the point – more importantly they will resonate with the customers world – it shows you are bothered and its not just about getting a deal. Try it – it really does work!