As a follow up to my recent post (Matching Buyers Needs and Sellers Activities), I promised to expand on the concept of selling added value.
As you already know, the “Four Drivers of Sales Performance” are:
- Selling Skills
- Relationship Building
- Time and Territory Management
Companies almost always hired the candidate with the best selling skills, charm and personality. The thought was that you could teach them the product knowledge.
Today’s salesperson is really a “knowledge broker” and companies today are hiring people with demonstrable knowledge as the first criteria.
The reason for this is that the customer has gotten a lot smarter and has much more information available today. The salesperson needs to be as knowledgeable as the buyer or he will be dismissed because he lacks value.
Some companies are buffering this trend by having presales technical support specialists as part of the selling process and some industries are moving to team selling. This phenomenon cannot continue because it nearly doubles the cost of sales at a time when companies are trying to reduce the cost of selling. There is also that added nuance that drives the prospect to want to deal with the technical specialist rather than the salesperson.
For selling in this new millennium, the name of the game is
“How do we deliver the most knowledge to our prospect”?
The following chart shows the “Three Areas of Sales Activity” within the buying process.
Pre-Sales Area – knowledge prevails here. There is a huge knowledge gap here – prospect needs help today). In this area, the salesperson needs to:
- Know and understand general business practices
- Know and understand the buyer’s needs
- Know and understand how the product or service fits these needs
- Know and understand where the industry is going
- Know and understand your competitors positioning
Sales Cycle Area – knowledge and selling skills prevail here. In this are the salesperson needs to”
- Know how to justify your products investment
- Know how it contributes to the buyer’s needs
- Show how it will solve his problem
- Show how you will install it, train them, and support them
- Make certain they know (and value) the “services after the sale”
Post Sales Area – relationship skills prevail here. In this area you need to demonstrate your support by providing:
- Ongoing training
- Upgrades and enhancements
- Meeting deliverables
- Service and support policies
- Customer service attitude (We are all with you for the long haul)
In the first two areas the buyers are on information overload. The seller’s role is not only to provide information, but to interpret it for them and make it relevant. This means the seller has to have a high degree of knowledge. The competencies required for this process include:
Questioning and Listening Skills
Conviction, Confidence and Integrity
Today’s salesperson is a “knowledge broker” more than anything else.
If you need assistance in helping your team become knowledge brokers, please don’t hesitate to contact me.