-by Duane Cashin
How Elite Sales Professionals Operate
Consistently top performing sales professionals all have something in common. They have adjusted their approach to selling their products and services to align with the desires and needs of decision makers in our current economy. They understand it is not business as usual.
Today’s decision makers are making it crystal clear they do not have the time or the desire to meet with “sales people”. Here is their definition of a sales person:
“A sales person is one who is focused on making a sale. Their motivation in meeting with me is to make commission dollars, and it shows. Sales people are focused on their product. A sales person attempts to create excitement around their product’s features in an effort to build interest. Sales people possess a limited understanding of my industry or my business and as a result offer little value and ultimately are a waste of my time. Its 2012, further cuts in an effort to “survive” is not a sound business strategy. We are focused on expansion and growth. I’m looking for ideas to gain a competitive advantage. I want to meet with and establish mutually beneficial relationships with “business people” who possess depth of knowledge and business insight. Products are falling out of the rafters. Good business ideas, now those are harder to come by.”
This definition of a “sales person” was obtained from 24 recent interviews with decision makers in large publicly traded companies such as Cigna, Lego and Verizon Wireless, and smaller privately held companies as well.
What Decision Makers Want
- “Demonstrate to me you have ‘some’ understanding of my industry.”
- “Show me you have been to my website and you have an understanding of the products/services we provide and that you have a feel for who our customers are.”
- “Avoid any behavior that sends me the message you are focused on “making a sale” or “chasing commission dollars”. Focus everything you say and do on helping me attain my objectives.”
- “Ask me ‘relevant’ questions. Give thought to the questions you want to ask me. Ask me questions that make it clear to me you have “some” understanding of the objectives a person in my position is most likely to have. With this preparation I will view you as credible and will help you fill in the blanks.”
- “Give me some ideas that will help me gain a competitive advantage.”
Social media and the internet dump so much information on us that we have been conditioned to pay attention to only that information which is meaningful and relevant to our world.
Here are some staggering statistics:
- Facebook: 175 million users log on every day updating 30 billion pieces of content monthly
- Twitter : 25 billion tweets went out in 2011
- YouTube: 2 billion videos are viewed every day
- LinkedIn: 1 new member signs up every second
In one day you receive more information than your grandparents did in an entire year!
How to Establish Credibility and Trust with Decision Makers
To gain an understanding of how to establish credibility in the eyes of decision makers we need to understand what is most important to them at this time. Here are the 5 areas decision makers are focused on:
1. Ideas on how they can attract and on-board new customers. They want to grow their top line revenues.
2. Decision makers want to hold on to their base of clients. The cost to bring on new customers is high and as a result they cannot afford to lose any good customers.
3. They want to sell additional products and services to their existing accounts. In general when selling additional products and series to an existing customer the sales cycle is shorter, the cost of sale is less and as a result the margin is higher. This is a formula for business success.
4. Decision makers want to see their team getting more done in the same 8 hour period without adding to payroll.
5. They want to “hold the line” on expenses. Notice they are not saying they want to “save money”. Since the recession started in 2008 companies have been cutting in order to survive. Many have cut into muscle. At this point in 2012 they are looking to grow and they understand that growth requires an investment.
Your Course of Action is Clear
Immediately begin thinking of yourself as a business person with depth versus a sales person pushing products. This shift of perspective is critical. We think and act along the lines of how we view our role and contribution. Secondly, take a vertical market approach to your business. Study the vertical markets you serve and begin to identify ways in which companies in those verticals can accomplish some of the 5 objectives listed above. And lastly, embrace the reality that all of us today will only pay attention to what matters to us. Shift your focus in every aspect of your business to focus exclusively on the goals, plans and objectives of your prospects and customers. Commit to making the shift from “product pusher” to “value contributor”.
About the Author: Duane Cashin is a New Business Development Expert with a focus on gaining audience with key decision makers. Duane calls them Prime Buyers.
Duane specializes in B2B and is an author, sales leadership advisor, trainer and keynote speaker. Duane is recognized as an expert in the areas of prospecting, sales process and sales management.
Duane has a broad range of business experience. In his business career he has held multiple positions ranging from President & CEO of his own multi-million dollar specialty graphics company to executive sales leadership positions in several Fortune 500 companies.
While President and CEO of the graphics company Duane founded his organization served several NFL Super Bowls, the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Radio City Music Hall, MTV Studios and Rockefeller Center, to name a few.
Those who have attended his keynotes and workshops agree - some speakers have depth of business experience - some present meaningful and actionable content - some are entertaining and engaging - Duane combines all three!
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