SalesReformSchool

Free Kindle and Facilitation Book with Every Class from Leadership Strategies – The Facilitation Company

MUST USE COUPON CODE: KINDLE

via www.leadstrat.com

Wow, I just read that my client Leadership Strategies is giving away a free Kindle with attendance at one of their public workshops. If you lead meetings or workshops of any kind, you need the facilitation skills they teach.

Six years ago when I first started leading my own workshops, I took the Secrets of Facilitation class. It was invaluable. I learned a ton that I still use today including tools for openings, increasing audience participation, working through dysfunction, and much more.

I highly recommend you get your free kindle and take a class.

Good Selling!

Back to School….Part 2

See Part 1 here.

Working with the curious, it helps to nurture, not push.

Next up, John Holland – co-author of the CustomerCentric Selling book, methodology, and coursework – did a great job as usual putting into perspective what is happening today between buyers and sellers.

According to Holland (and I agree), traditional selling is at odds with today's informed buyer.  Especially in B2B sales, buyers more often than not encounter sellers after already learning about their offerings through web sites or third parties – real or web-based.  Traditional sellers, however, assume too much about their buyers without asking questions and believe they are the sole experts on what they sell. 

Holland says that if we combine the above with the baggage that buyers bring over to B2B relationships from their B2C experiences, we can see why many sales people and teams struggle.

How do we fix things?  First, Holland noted that good sellers have to become good sellers on purpose. Next, we have to realize that new buyers crave transparent information – that's why third party sites and referral networks are doing so well.   "At the heart of social networking for business is transparent information buyers can get from or about vendors prior to or during the buying experience."  This is scary for traditional seller-vendors who have trouble qualifying buyer interest or are behave too pushy towards the "merely curious."

Holland then took a step back to look at how world-class marketing and sales organizations generate leads.  It turns out that these companies' sales people are spending most of their time working on active opportunities rather than lead generation.  

"World Class sales organizations have 47%  fewer leads generated by sales." 
– John Holland, CustomerCentric Selling

Instead their leads are generated by marketing and some sort of inside sales/business development group who hand off "hot" leads to quota carriers. 

Marketing, however, may be too aggressive in qualifying during "lead generation".  Imagine a curious individual at a potential prospect who visits your web site to learn more.  This person has just had a rude episode at the electronics store, car lot or with an insurance salesman.  This person merely wants a white paper to "see what this is all about," but is turned off by your web site's insistence that he provide an email address and/or phone number in exchange for the download.  So, he navigate away not wanting to be bothered by an email or worse, a phone call from a pesky sales guy.  You've potentially turned off a prospect.  

Is this scenario possible?  Happens everyday.  I know I've done it as a when merely curious.  

School's over, time to get back to work.

Instead, Holland suggests,the best marketers in B2B see their role as nurturing the "curious" so that eventually curiosity becomes an active need.

Nuggets from sitting in the back and really listening….

At least once per year, I serve as a sales training coach for another CustomerCentric Selling® 

practitioner. Last week, I helped Frank Visgatis, co-writer of the CustomerCentric Selling® methodology at a Workshop in Atlanta.  This serves a few purposes: 

1) to improve my delivery; 
2) As Stephen Covey suggests – I need to constantly Sharpen my Saw; 
3) as a re-inspiration mechanism for why I love what I do.

So, in no particular order, here is a peek at my notes.  Consider these the "yeah, that's it" or "Hmm, interesting way to put it" moments for me.

 - Query: Who pushes an enterprise forward? Is it Sales, Marketing, Product Development?   
Answer: None of the Above.  At a for-profit enterprise, it's the Customer!  This is the foundational element of CustomerCentric Selling®.

 - Our goal is to help everyone involved in revenue for a company think of themselves as being part of the enterprise becoming better at being "Buyer Facilitators."

 - In order to defeat "No Decision, Inc.", sellers need to help buyers realize that the cost of the challenge (or pain in the old nomenclature) is greater than the cost of change.

 - Too often, sellers think linearly, station to station instead of  - again Covey – keeping the end in mind and working backwards.

 - No one goes into a hardware store to buy a quarter-inch drill bit.  They need to buy a quarter-inch hole!

 - One of the biggest differentiators for CustomerCentric Selling® is our use of messaging tools in the sales process.  Imagine your 20-something sales rep has finally, after months of trying, netted a first meeting with an executive at a target organization.  Happiness, right?  Well, when the door to the corner office opens, and your rep walks in and shakes the execs hand, do you know what the content of her conversation will be?  Is it best-practices?  Will it show off that this 20-something knows the goals, challenges, issues that exec likely is facing?  Or, will they try to wing-it?

Good Selling,

Adam