Sales is merely the process of building trust, communicating value, and making a decision. It has likely been around since the earliest days of mankind. It is needed everywhere, throughout all levels of every organization.
My hope is that this helps a few readers get better/more sustained results, and maybe a few to contribute to the conversations around sales in their workplaces.
1. DETERMINE WHAT THEY ARE DECIDING.
“To buy or not to buy”
This is a terrible question!
Help prospective clients understand the nuances of what they are deciding and make it clear that your particular strengths are absolutely critical to their best interests in both short-term and long-term.
For example, a prospect might think they might be looking for retail distribution partners, but a spot in the roster of… “a distribution company supplying hundreds of thousands retail outlets across North America” is very different than that of “a boutique distributor with strong reputation of building revenue for emerging brands into key retail accounts”.
The clarity of what they are buying is a big part of YOUR BRAND and helps build proper context to conversations.
2. DETERMINE ALL WHO NEED TO BE PART OF DECISION.
I have never been in a situation where only one person was responsible for the decision. A business partner, technical team, manager, board of directors, and spouse seem to be the most frequent influencers.
Sometimes it makes sense to get them all in a room or call together.
Other times it works better to talk with them individually.
Still there are times when all discussions happen through an intermediary.
Regardless of the method, you need to understand all of their roles, needs, interests, and concerns before you can address them. Occasionally, the act of seeking them out is sufficient.
3. DETERMINE WHAT THEY NEED.
Professional buyers usually have a lot of detail on what they need, but might not communicate it easily. Most buyers (both B2B and D2C) are not quite so savvy. They all need help bringing the details out in the open so that they may be addressed.
- They need to trust you, your brand, your company, and your products.
- They need to believe you will help make them (and their company) better in some way.
- They need help integrating your solutions into their existing operations with minimal disruption or stress.
- They have hundreds of other needs, interests, concerns, and design constraints.
3.5. BUILD MARKETING & COMMUNICATION PLANS TO ADDRESS ALL THE ABOVE.
The behind-the-scenes work of branding, unique competitive advantage (or USP), market research, ideal client profiles, needs analyses, and product design are key elements to incorporate into the strategic marketing mix and presentation materials.
Quite often, simply working through these determinations just a little but will close a big deal. Other times it seems each of them must be exhausted for even a paltry transaction.