August 2nd, 2017

7 Ways to Elevate Your Consultative Selling Approach to Compete Today

modern consultative selling approach

Competing in the world of selling today means understanding the changing world of your buyers and adjusting your sales approach accordingly. The biggest change for sellers is that the game has gotten harder, and sellers need to execute at a higher level than ever before to compete. Committing to this level of change is the difference between college sports and pro. The players are bigger. The game is faster. The conditions are more challenging.

Recent Changes in the Buying Process Unprecedented access to information: Today’s buyers are more informed and more prepared. They perform extensive research and many are deciding on solutions before engaging a salesperson or having a conversation. As a result, buyers show up with an arsenal of knowledge as well as preconceived idea of what they believe they need. They are also able to complete more phases of the buying cycle on their own. Research from Forrester forecasts that “1 million B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by the year 2020.” This isn’t the end of the sales profession but rather a wake-up call to all sellers that the customer is looking for more. Availability of options: Related to the overabundance of information, buyers today are bombarded with opinions and options. There can be a multitude of ways to solve a particular issue and navigating the best path can be a challenge. Further complicating the challenge is » Continue Reading.

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July 25th, 2017

4 Best Practices for Selling Financial Services

Selling Financial Services

When people think about selling financial services it evokes images of balance sheets and ledgers. Too often, we forget that people are behind the numbers. Each transaction begins and ends with a person. Therefore, building a presence in the Financial Services industry means building relationships. Forming these relationships is becoming increasingly challenging. In today’s tech-driven world, digital solutions separate the professional from the customer. Emails are easy and fast, but they are simply surface level communications. Therefore, sellers must go further to connect with a customer. Doing so requires overcoming the inertia of complacency.

Sellers need a more active approach to engage customers. Here, we explore how trust, decisiveness, support, differentiation, and unity all empower the seller.

Earn Trust

Every relationship requires trust to grow. However, building trust is a process in a world that demands fast results. Often, short-term pressures leave this critical step languishing. Over time, the connection between the seller and the customer weakens.

Dialogue is the basis of trust. These conversations must culminate in insights that deliver value to the customer. Therefore, professionals must adopt a consultative approach rather than one that is strictly transactional. Explain the backstory for your recommendations. Describe why you’re suggesting a course of action. This engagement aligns the interests of the seller and the customer. The customer will be more receptive to one’s professional acumen if they believe in their fiduciary commitment. In turn, the goals become » Continue Reading.

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July 20th, 2017

Insurance Sales Trends

Insurance Sales Trends

Today’s insurance sales industry faces growing complexity and competition at every corner. Insurance has become a commodity market by low growth in mature markets. As a result, insurance companies are shifting the way that they go to market and interact with their clients.

With new strategies come new challenges in the preservation of market share. Here’s a look at some of those challenges, with some insights on how to overcome them.

Keeping a Client Focused Approach

For the majority of producers, all sales are conversions. That is, a sale for one company is a loss for another. The insurance sale has become a commodity which underscores the need for a client focus to build relationships and loyalty.

The challenge to make this shift is often a direct result of a ‘system think’ philosophy precipitated by internal processes getting in the way of a customer focus.

As regulations become more complex, customers want an easy way to understand their options and make a choice. As part of this shift, producers are taking a more generalist role to provide expertise around a wider array of products. The challenge is using that new approach to provide better customer-producer relationships that lead to sales.

Ensure that the client experience is exceptional. Engage the client by taking time to ask broader questions to understand their goals, improve the experience, and uncover additional needs. Build trust by integrating client ideas and needs into a meaningful and » Continue Reading.

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July 15th, 2017

Engage the Modern Buyer with a New Approach to Consultative Selling

There is no second act in selling.  Buyers have too many options and not enough time.  When your salespeople show up, they must be exceptional – cutting through the noise and distilling what matters most.

Join Richardson for a complimentary webinar, Adjusting Your Consultative Selling Approach to Engage The Modern Buyer, on August 8 at 3:00 PM EST. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to create a fresh approach to their Consultative Selling Training Programs that empowers their sales organizations:

To understand not only buyer psychology, but the neuroscience and behavioral science behind how people form impressions, make judgments, and arrive at decisions How to foster trust and encourage openness from their buyers How to float ideas in a way that deepens the conversation rather than limiting it

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July 13th, 2017

4 Ways to Get Better at Selling Technology

Get better at selling technology

The technology industry sales field is one of unending change. Sellers must remain cognizant of these changes and how they affect their buyers’ needs in order to be equipped to properly position their offering. Focusing on these four selling behaviors will help sellers working in this challenging industry better serve their buyers and drive revenue for their businesses.

Provide Value in a Rapidly Changing Industry

Many sellers today struggle to understand the nuances of their market. Rapid developments in tech mean that this challenge is becoming a moving target. Sellers face emerging trends, shifting priorities, and even new terminology when approaching the customer. These factors create challenges in articulating the relevancy of a solution over the long-term.

To provide value, sellers need to form a collaborative relationship. This collaboration leads to insights, which offer clues on how to position a product. Sellers can start by understanding the trends impacting the customer’s business, and the most critical challenges. From here, sellers can generate new ideas by providing compelling and thought-provoking ideas to their customers. As a result, the customer will see value in the dialogue and understand how you will deliver solutions to them and their stakeholders.

Remember to stay involved. Keep in regular contact with customers during and after delivery, solve problems, and continue to identify needs and form new ideas as their business continues to transform.

Preserve Long-term Relationships

Preserving long-term relationships is becoming more challenging amid the » Continue Reading.

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June 29th, 2017

Value Strategy: The Foundation of Collaborative Account Development

How to Formulate a Value Strategy

Communicating the value created is the key part of collaborative account development. Many salespeople believe that if they win opportunities in the sales process and their account teams implement the solution for the customer flawlessly, the customer will automatically recognize that value has been created. This is a mistake. Value not communicated is value not perceived by the customer.

Four Factors Make Up a Value Strategy

Identify the business environment and business needs: There are trends in the customers’ industry affecting their business. In addition, the customer has company goals, objectives, and challenging issues. Out of these trends and challenging issues arise opportunities to work together to improve the customer’s performance. This includes identifying, and formulating, how the customer defines value.

Generate new ideas: One of the key behaviors of trusted advisors is that they bring new insights and ideas to their customers. These insights and ideas seek to change the status quo to help the customer keep up in a fast-paced and challenging business environment.

Communicate the value to the customer: How can your company deliver value to the customer? Be sure the customer also is told, and understands, how your salespeople can deliver value to the their stakeholder, including the customer’s customers.

Deliver: After your salespeople have worked hard to identify and generate new opportunities, your account team needs to deliver the solutions that deliver value to the customer. This part of the » Continue Reading.

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June 27th, 2017

Shift From a Response Mode of Selling to Shape and Create Mode

Opportunities to grow your business with a major account come in three different modes: Respond, Shape, and Create.

Respond

When salespeople respond to an opportunity, the customer has already identified the issue, the solution, and the expected outcomes. Now, a provider is sought. This is the most reactive style of account development. The scope and budget are usually already set. Pressures on both price and competition are often high. By no means should a salesperson ignore such opportunities. Flexibility is a key element of business. Salespeople should be able to respond as well as initiate. However, responding is not the best way to develop and grow a business relationship.

Shape

High-performing sales professionals tend to focus more on shaping opportunities. This is where salespeople help the customer in defining the issue, the most likely outcomes, and even possible unintended consequences. This is a much more proactive style of account management— one where salespeople may be able to preempt the competition. And even though some opportunities might initially appear to be “respond” situations, if you have a different opinion or broader view, you might be able to shape a respond opportunity in new ways.

Create

The third selling mode is the most ambitious and creative. Here, salespeople create an opportunity. They bring forward insights to challenging issues that are not even on the customer’s radar but will likely have an impact sometime soon. This is the most proactive style of account » Continue Reading.

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June 22nd, 2017

A Collaborative Account Growth Strategy Drives Better Outcomes

Account-Growth-Strategy

It’s common for sales leaders (and salespeople themselves) to look to their large, strategic customers year after year to sustain or drive increased revenue performance. However, the availability of options, decreasing customer loyalty, higher expectations and constant competitive threats are making forecasted business from your best customers anything but a certainty. All too often, account growth strategy and plans are isolated events and are missing one critical component – the buyer.

An enterprise-wide, customer-centric approach to working with strategic accounts is a mainstay of sales organizations that understand that markets change but that customers are always relevant. Because the business environment in which your customers operate has become more challenging, salespeople need to increase their proficiency in identifying and meeting needs to have credibility as a trusted advisor, one who helps the customer decide how to buy and doesn’t just sell.

4 FACTORS AFFECTING ACCOUNT GROWTH STRATEGY (1) Renewed Emphasis on Price

Price has always been important in business. In today’s environment, funding is scrutinized. Customers feel like they should look longer and harder to justify why they are buying a particular solution at a specific price. As pricing pressures increase, more and more firms find customers trying to “commoditize” the solutions that suppliers offer.

(2) Greater Complexity

The business environment has become increasingly complex. An IBM study of more than 1,500 CEOs cited increasing complexity as a major challenge to the managerial and leadership ranks » Continue Reading.

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