Viewing Posts for: Linda Richardson
Maintaining the Sales Machine
In their November 2013 Harvard Business Review article Dismantling the Sales Machine Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nicholas Toman of the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) assert that “Leaders must abandon their fixation on (sales) process compliance.” In place of “disciplined sales process” they favor a flexible approach to sales in which salespeople rely on their own insight and judgment. That they find sales process discipline and a sales force capable of insight and judgment incompatible seems untenable.
Although attendance at trade shows has decreased, trade shows continue to attract key providers and serious buyers. What’s happening with trade shows parallels what has happened in selling. With a click, buyers can learn about your company and your competitors’ products. So why do they continue to come to trade shows? What is it they are looking for in one of the last bastions of face-to-face marketing? The answer is clear: ideas, insights, collaboration, and the connection that comes with a handshake.
Trusted Advisor 2.0
A few years ago, I identified the ten characteristics of a Trusted Advisor. As I look back at that list, I see it has become more like the price of admission. With the radical changes that have taken place in the selling landscape, while every one of the ten attributes remain valid, they are no longer sufficient.
What has remained true through time however, are the two words themselves: trusted and advisor. But what these words mean and why they are so essential today has changed.
The scandal at Rutgers overshadowed most other sports news this past week. Questions are still being asked. How long had this treatment been going on? Why did it take a video for someone to speak out? The reputation of the university has suffered and four men so far have lost their jobs, starting with the dismissal of Mike Rice, the men’s head basketball coach, who had taken a downtrodden team to victory for the players and now disgrace for the school.
Great news! You’ve made your final presentation and your customer has let you know you are one of two finalists. The customer started with 38 providers, narrowed that down to six, and invited three to make presentations to a group of 11 stakeholders. The customer will advise you of the decision in one week. The opportunity is large and strategically important. What will you do over the week to increase your odds of winning?
1) Start by knowing your personal close ratio and that of your organization:
Top performing companies — 46% average close ratio Average — 29% average close ratio Lagging — 19% average close ratio
2) Take your preparation up several notches. Build your industry, company, and stakeholder knowledge and prepare insights and ideas to share with your clients.
3) Know where your clients are in their buying cycle and look at your sales process through their eyes.
4) Ask informed questions that indicate you have knowledge and experience to share and to motivate your clients to engage with you. Focus on the “why” and “why not” questions, not just the “what.” Understand as much as you possibly can about the business outcome before your visit and probe to understand the decision process, access the executive, understand the risks the client is concerned about and value you must be proved.
5) Ask who the competitors are, what their solutions include, and then ask the tough questions to find out how the customer feels you compare to the competitor.
6) Speed up your responsiveness — when a client asks for something, find out when he or she needs it and beat that time frame. Anticipate and deliver before the client asks for it.
7) Find ways to take the load off the client to keep things moving. For example, if he or she says “Let’s set a phone call to…” not only set » Continue Reading.
What Can We Learn from Sherlock?
In a self-diagnostic, I would categorize myself as a multi-tasker and believe (ed) that I was pretty good at it. A juggler. But Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes — and who wouldn’t want to be capable of that kind of insightful thinking — has caused me to reconsider the wisdom of the approach.
What the World of Selling Can Learn from Watching Netflix
In the new world of selling the ability to see into the future to recognize the needs that customers have not identified or have undervalued is the new currency. But, is that really possible?