What could we possibly mean?
Look, let’s talk about how we elevate our game as sellers and marketing folks. I love it when I hear about the new ‘bright and shiny object’s gravitational pull”. Attention grabbing headlines draw teams to the “new” thing and we need to understand how we can leverage this draw to drive better revenue production in marketing and sales. Leaders are always looking for the NEXT thing to help elevate their teams. Why? Well, the game has changed hasn’t it? Traditional models are dead; social selling, the Internet, research and informed prospects are conspiring against us as a selling and marketing organization. So we must change the process, right? Well, depending upon your team’s current approach the answer is yes and no. Let me illustrate.
We MUST change! This is true; we must change our standard and arrive with a truly prepared approach. How do we do this? Studies show we must be “provocative,” we must “challenge” the status quo, and we can’t be product brochures. AMEN! We at Visualize and ValueSelling have been saying this for a long time. So how do we do this? What do we need to make sure as sellers we are doing this? And, as leaders, how do we ensure our teams are being effectively provocative and challenging the status quo? Let’s discuss the key ingredients to “change the game” in today’s market.
First, we must have a compelling introduction. It must demonstrate that we have done our homework and that we’ve identified objectives and/or issues to be solved along with the relevant complexities and challenges. We must talk about the impact we’ve had in doing this elsewhere. We should deliver this commercial insight, provocation, value story or credibility introduction in less than two minutes in order to get their attention. Agreed? Most would say, yes, of course. Yet how often do our teams have this “introduction” ready to roll…. with metrics succinct enough to be emotionally captivating?
Second, if we have earned the right to engage in a dialog with the executive prospect, what should we begin talking with them about? Our solutions? No, we must engage in a conversation around their objectives, their challenges and evoke a true dialog. Our conversation should require us to ask questions and, at the same time, prompt them to speak twice as much as we do. Considering we have two ears and one mouth, we should engage in a conversation that ensures we’re talking only half as much as our prospect.
Third, as we are engage in this conversation, we should be prepared with questions that expand the prospect’s view, gain insight, and demonstrate our knowledge. Our questions should expand the problems our prospects face, leading them with insight and perspective discreetly made around potential solutions and the impact we’ve had with others.
This is being a “challenger” or “provocative” seller. If you agree with those ideas listed above, would you like a recipe to ensure success?
Introduction = 120-second (maximum) value story for a similar title containing metrics in each of the following:
Engage in a conversation and uncover, through questions and your insights, the customer’s:
In each of the above you should come prepared with open-ended and probing questions to expand the box and illuminate yourself and the prospect.
So, is solution selling dead and challenger selling a farce? Yes and No.
Enlist the above tactics, prepare with stories and questions to lead a productive, engaging conversation where your customer is talking twice as much as you. You will be compelling and knowledgeable and while this process isn’t new — it is what is required.