A Better Way to Sell — Turn Selling into Helping Clients
Most business sales training programs focus on advancing and closing deal. While this makes sense from a seller’s perspective, it is exactly the opposite of what buyers want and need to be successful.
What would happen if you simply switched your metaphorical position at the table? Instead of sitting on the opposite side of the table from your ideal target customer, sit on the same side and put your customer’s goals, problems, and needs first. Stop selling and start focusing on helping your customer to succeed.
If you truly want to establish a more long-term, high-performing relationship with your customer, consultative solution selling and true collaboration is the way to go. Top sales performers turn selling into helping clients.
What This “Better Way to Sell” Looks Like
The “better way to sell” begins with putting your customer first. It begins with understanding what matters most to your buyer, their team, and their organization. It ends with a clear articulation of how you can help them be successful personally and professionally.
The Win for You
The good news for your sales organization is that according to Harvard Business Review, only 14% of senior sales managers have adopted this collaborative approach to sales, but for those who have, their sales and profitability have increased 2 times the rate of their peers.
What It Takes To Turn Selling into Helping Clients
This customer-centric sales approach has five steps, each one building on the other.
- Know Your Client
If you want to truly help your client to succeed, you must know what matters most to them, their company, and their industry. How else could you help them to perform at their peak? Do your research and be prepared.
You will know you are on the right track when you can clearly articulate the top priorities and the context around them for your buyer, their boss, and their organization as a whole.
- Clarify Your Value Proposition
Invest the time to ensure that your unique value proposition resonates with your client from their perspective. Then make sure that you have a successful track record of delivering against it and that your client knows what sets you apart from the pack.
- Assess the Current State of Your Relationship
Take a close, objective look at the relationship you now have with your client. Be brutally honest and then check in with your customer for their perspective. The parameters should range from how well you communicate to how much value you add. Essentially, this is a measure of how close you are to being a trusted advisor from your customer’s point of view.
You will know you are on the right track to truly help them to succeed if they frequently reach out to you for advice, bring you into their inner circle, and involve you early in the strategy and planning process.
- Look for Areas for Improvement
Once you’ve rated your relationship with help from your customer, you need to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas of misalignment. Then make a strategic account plan to help your customer to be successful in a way that makes sense.
- Look for Quick Wins
Among the most promising areas for improvement, look for the quick wins — not only to broaden the support with near-term success but also to gain traction for any proposed long-term solutions.
The Bottom Line
This collaborative sales approach sets you up as partners with your customers. It means that you must know them and their “stuff” much better than your own products and solutions. Are you ready to put your customer first for the good of everyone?
To learn more about the benefit of putting your customers first, download 30 Effective Sales Questions that Matter Most