THE ART OF SOLUTION SELLING IN THE TECHNOLOGY AGE
Below you are about to read a detailed breakdown of 9 Keys Points to becoming a world class Solution Sales Consultant in the Technology Age
Point 1: ALWAYS BE CLOSING
Don’t worry this is not an old school pitch from Glengarry Glen Ross… Doing the hard core close…
The new Art of Selling you should be always closing just in a different context.
- You’re helping people go from their current state to their desired state
- You should always be “Advancing” the sale, offering enough value at every stage of the process to advance to the next steps.
- So, don’t always be closing for the final deal. Always be closing in on the next commitment.
- You should be Other Oriented vs. Self-Oriented … when you switch from being “self-oriented” to “other-oriented”, people will immediately respond to you and want you on their team
- You will sell faster if you go slower… Wait What? You may be asking, this means you can only go as fast as the prospective client is willing to go, so slow down and be Other Oriented.
- Always be in service of people, that’s right Sales is not doing sometime to someone, its doing something for someone
Point 2: ARE YOU TRADING ENOUGH VALUE
Typically, the hardest stage of a sales process is getting the first meeting, if you go straight out and ask the prospective client for a meeting you are being self-oriented and its more about you than them
- So, when asking for someone’s value (e.g. their time), always make sure that you’re giving back something that is more valuable.
- Its your responsibility to explain the value you’ll provide, never assume they see value
- Example of what NOT to say:
Hi I’m …….. from ….…. and we help …….. do …….. , can I have 30 mins of your time.
- Example of what YOU could say:
Listen if you give me 30 mins of your time, I’m going to share with you 3 big ideas that could dramatically change the decision you make in your business over the next 18-24 months and I’ll happily share these with you regardless of whether we do business
- Your job is to trade value at every single step. Please note; you must have the value you offered when you show up to the meeting
- Think about sales as a hiring process, you are essentially asking someone to make you a part of their team.
- When you offer so much value the other party feels compelled to make you a part of their team.
Point 3: HOW TO GET A COMMITMENT OF TIME
No matter what size, company or deal you are chasing the first step is always trying to get a commitment of someone’s time
- Always be mindful that someone’s time is their most valuable resource, once they give it they can’t get it back
- Do your research and find out everything you can about this person and/or company, you need to find what value they need before you can offer it in exchange for their time
- When exchanging your value for their time always specific a time limit (e.g. 20 mins is perfect), this way your likelihood of being granted that 20 mins is higher because the value you bring is greater than the 20 mins
- If you want to add value then be personable and use the phone to connect, always leave a voicemail with your value you want to share with them
- The power of using the “Phone” to connect with prospects allows you to address any concerns that a person may have, to many sales people hide behind technology and wonder why they aren’t successful
Point 4: CONCERNS ARE NOT OBJECTIONS
The old school training and methods to handle objections was about control and (feel, felt, found), this doesn’t work, and you will only frustrate your prospect, here is what a concern really is and how to handle it.
- Change your Mindset about objections!! You are not trying to overcome objections, this is not a time to be dominant
- Your job is to help people through change, so when they fire you an objection (e.g. time, money etc) they are saying they are not ready for change
- When they are not ready for change, often there is a strong correlation that you have not offered enough value
- Do Not wrestle someone into change, your job is to explore the real concerns and the meaning behind them
- If you want to get a sale and build a relationship you don’t overcome someone’s objections and help resolve their concerns (Big Difference)
Point 5: CONTROL THE PROCESS
This title may sound contradictory to what we outlined in point 4, however it talks specifically to providing enough value to Advance to the next steps … This is where you want to control the process.
- You must follow a sales process that increases your chances of getting a positive decision. Don’t allow the client to skip steps. When you lose control of the process, you’ll most likely lose the sale
- There are 2 key stages of a solution selling process. Collaboration and Consensus, when either of these are skipped over or you are left of either of them you’ll risk losing the deal
- Never assume the deal is ready to close just because your contacts are giving all the right signals… Always find out if there are other stakeholders who this will affect
- Gain a commitment of collaboration from every stakeholder regardless of how small their input
- Controlling the process so that you can work together with your client to make sure your proposal meets their needs
- Go through your proposal and offer in person and in detail, make sure there is nothing in there that doesn’t have consensus on. If there are any concerns, then address them individually before moving on
- Control the proposal walk though to reinforce the value of every step, don’t let the client skip to the price, always explain why you serve your client better than others, don’t allow price to be the deal breaker
Point 6: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
In business relationships, there is an economic component but there is also a relationship component. Don’t underestimate the relationship component
- Building a relationship with the client will defiantly tilt the direction in your favour
- Being consultative, having a personal presence and deep interest in helping your client will be a huge differentiator in your outcomes
- By knowing your prospective customer, knowing their business, industry and trends and truly caring about their concerns and success you will invited to provide more opinions as a trusted relationship
- Trust is built on one thing which is caring, customise your approach and product so that it fits the clients’ needs. If they feel like you are just trying to get the transaction, then all trust has gone out the window
- Be proactive in finding solutions to client’s problems before the problem even arises
- Hold yourself accountable to what you are selling, if you are not reliable all the good relationship building will be diminished.
- Be a Consultative Sales Person, Be a Trusted Advisor, BE INVALUABLE
Point 7: THE COMMITMENT OF CONSENSUS
With the new way companies operate nowadays and the breaking down of Silos there can be between 6 and 10 people involved in key decision-making processes … Company size is obviously a factor, but regardless it’s a multi division touch on most key decisions
- Leaders now realise that to making decisions that drive huge change and impact they need all the key stakeholders onboard
- Make sure you know who all the decision makers are regardless of how big or small their involvement
- Even if one senior member says they make the final decision, this is a concern that you need to address. Remember to control the process and ask the right questions to softly engage with other stakeholders… something like this
Hi ……. In my experience if we don’t bring in your I.T and Finance teams now, ultimately, we will get so far ahead of them that when we are done they will start resisting it and unravel all your good work…
- Involving people in the process creates a sense of ownership, if you leave this to long you will get blocked
- Remember that everyone doesn’t have to agree, but always make sure that those who don’t agree understand that you have the company’s best interested in mind.
Point 8: THE COMMITMENT OF DECISION
If you have followed all the learnings so far, from providing huge amounts of value, controlling the whole sales process and building solid trust and relationships …. Then getting the decision should be the easy part …
- If you didn’t address all their concerns, you are now ahead of the buyer and they will stall
- If your prospect is not ready to commit it means that you have not prepared them properly to commit
- Before you arrive at this stage, make sure you have given your prospect all the information they need so that it will be easy for them to say YES
- Don’t dredge up old concerns that have been addressed, this is asking your client to think of new concerns and become less confident in doing business with you
- Stop calling the decision process the “close”. It’s not the close it’s the beginning of the next step and a key advancement to now start the fulfillment process
- When asking for the decision, don’t overcomplicate your language. Use language that is straightforward and natural.
- Don’t ever pressure anyone into moving forward. Putting pressure on potential clients makes them feel like they are being taken advantage of
Point 9: YOU ARE YOUR PRODUCT
Once you have helped the client make the decision to buy is when the process starts again, this time its executing and fulfilling on your commitments
Depending on what you sell there are multiple levels of value
- Product sales – Minimal after sales value (e.g. Coffee)
- Experience Sales – Some after sales value, during the experience (e.g. Flight)
- B2B Sales – Tangible after sales value, Result driven (e.g. Adwords)
- Strategic Sales – Huge after sales value, the problem solver
If you prove yourself to be a problem solver, you’re selling something much more important (and valuable) than your product
- Relationships will fall apart if you stop creating value for your clients
- Always be looking for greater ways to add value to your relationships/clients
- If you stop moving your client forward is when you will be disintermediated by someone who is willing to put in the extra effort
- Consistently identify your deficiencies and work on them so that you can grow as an individual and create better value for other people
Sales really makes the world go around, even if you recommend or like something you are basically selling … There is so much material available today on the Art of Selling, some is out dated, and some is really on point, a lot of the ideas and content in this blog are from Anthony Iannarino…
Greg Gillies helps business owners scale their companies profitably. He is an expert at mapping out growth Strategies for companies and then building a sales and marketing machine that delivers against the Strategy, all while making things super simple to understand.
If you’re interested in scaling your own business more profitably by automating your sales and marketing processes, then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.