Category Archives: sales process

July 14th, 2016

The Neuroscience of Sales: Unseating an Incumbent

neuroscience of sales: incumbency bias

Competing against an incumbent provider is one of the more challenging sales situations that we encounter.  The existing account holder likely has a stronger relationship with the client, first-hand knowledge of the client’s business, and enjoys the benefit of being a known entity.  Remarkably, even with mediocre performance, an incumbent can be difficult to unseat, and a lot of the reason why is attributed to psychology.  There are a few neuroscience concepts that give us some insights as to why customers hold on so tightly and how a challenger might loosen the grip.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is the simple idea that the fear of losing something is much stronger than the joy of gaining something — in fact, it is about twice as strong, according to research.  In a competitive sales environment, that means that the value proposition of a challenger needs to be significantly stronger than that of the incumbent if the challenger hopes to win the business.  Loss aversion is how even relatively weak providers maintain accounts.  So why is our fear of loss so strong?

It is human nature to overvalue what we already own; this is called the endowment effect.  It is evident when people are reluctant to part with something they own for its cash equivalent, or if the amount that people are willing to pay for something is lower than what people are willing to accept when selling it (Kahneman, Knetsch, & Thaler, » Continue Reading.

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May 20th, 2016

Using the Sales Process as a Blueprint for Rapid Behavior Change

Using the Sales Process as a Blueprint for Rapid Behavior Change

#1: Establish a Common Language

There are two things that unite virtually every sales organization: 1) the desire to improve sales performance and 2) to achieve results as quickly as possible. In this series of posts, I will discuss three ways in which the sales process can be used as a blueprint for rapid behavior change that drives better results. The first in the series focuses on the importance of establishing a common language to be used within the sales process.

Common Language is Essential

Change happens when a majority of people begin doing new things repeatedly. For sales organizations attempting to achieve a step change in performance, it all starts with the sales process. An effective and intuitive sales process will introduce a common language that sales professionals and their managers can use to discuss opportunities and their stage-by-stage progression through the pipeline.

Language is important. It’s not only what people say, or how they say it, but what they mean when they use certain words. When people share a common language, they become more unified. They “get” what the other is saying. They’re on the same page.

This doesn’t mean everyone has to speak English or Spanish or German. It means whatever their native tongue, sellers should speak the language of selling. At Richardson, we focus on terms like verifiable outcomes to mean leading indicators » Continue Reading.

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March 28th, 2016

Why Building Rapport Matters

Building Rapport Creates Long Lasting Connections

I have been working with a prospect over the past few weeks, and it has been a good journey. She is not even a confirmed client yet, but I am extremely excited about the possibilities. What makes me so optimistic, either for the short-term opportunity or a future relationship, is how we connected instantly.

There are different ways to build rapport. On a personal level, building rapport can be accomplished by developing commonalities in life: living in the same town, having the same vacation experience, what someone reads like articles or a newsletter, knowing the same people, etc. On a professional level, rapport can be built by simply giving free advice and making a genuine connection and being able to converse about similar interests. This can be as basic as a personal talk or just being sincere in your efforts about what is communicated to your prospects and demonstrating that you care about their needs and hope to become a true partner.

In the case of the prospect that I mentioned earlier, we did not have a personal connection at first. She had a clear need. She knew what she wanted to do, and she was doing everything the right way. Her next step was to choose a partner from the outside to come in and train her people.

Our connection came through an open and engaging dialogue. I listened closely to what she was saying, » Continue Reading.

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December 10th, 2015

Why Sales Leaders Need to Craft and Control the Sales Management Process

sales leaders need to control the sales management process

I am such a hard-core believer in the value of having a sales management process because I know without it, long-term success will not happen. My loyalty stems from watching a mentor from earlier in my career construct and implement a process that became a motivating force for achieving results. When I transitioned from sales into management, I followed his lead and began incorporating this critical element into my work. I now credit it for my success.

How to Control your Team with a Simple Sales Management Process

Simply put, a sales management process is a disciplined approach to driving multiple facets of performance, with regularly scheduled touch points along the way. By defining such a process, specific to the goals and culture of your own organization, you can drive both execution and accountability over the long term.

I recommend this type of a process for any sales leader, whether you are responsible for a team of direct-reporting individuals or a larger global team. Even senior sales leaders should institute their own consistent, repeatable management process so that everyone can under them — every individual, every line of business, and every division — becomes aligned and committed to the same strategic path.

Sales Management Process Implementation Priorities

When you introduce a defined process into your organization, know that it’s not a short-term exercise running over a 30- or 90-day cycle. It takes discipline » Continue Reading.

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December 8th, 2015

How Valid Is Your Sales Process?

sales-process-validation

In my previous posts — Sales Process? You Should Probably Call It a Pursuit Process  and Dynamic Sales Process Leads to Dynamite Results  — I talked about the value of a dynamic sales process that helps sales professionals pursue opportunities in an optimal way.

In this post, I take the discussion a step further by talking about validation of the sales process. After all, if your sale process isn’t valid, if it doesn’t reflect the way your sales team should be pursuing opportunities, or if it doesn’t engender confidence about opportunities in the pipeline, then it really doesn’t matter if the salesforce uses it or not.

There are several ways to validate a sales process, and the one I can speak to most effectively is the methodology we use here at Richardson when creating a customized and dynamic process for clients. Over four to six weeks, we collaboratively work through a multiphase methodology:

Phase 1: Data Collection – We begin by meeting with the company’s top performers, sales leaders, and other stakeholders who can provide insights into the sales or account management cycle. Phase 2: Development of the Branded Sales Process – We develop a customized sales process that aligns with the company’s sales cycle and buying patterns, and we map it out in a matrix that identifies specific accountabilities. Phase 3: Validation and KPI Phase – We validate the sales process itself with line stakeholders in a workshop » Continue Reading.

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