Monthly Archives: March 2011

be different and appealing diffrrentaie

You grow your sales profitably by differentiating yourself in a way that matters to your customer and baffles your competition . You create a solution – a package of products and services – that delivers value to your customers and that competitors can’t match. In other words, your sales team creates a differentiated solution.

Differentiation starts with your company’s business goals, objectives and strategies. From there, each department creates its own plan for supporting these business goals. Marketing is a key driver, along with R&D and Sales.

Your sales department creates its own plan for the target markets and the salesperson creates a differentiated solution for each customer. It’s up to the salesperson and their team to convince the customer that its solution is different in a way that matters because it adds value to the customer . The salesperson’s objective is to help your customer achieve one of their critical success factors, which is the handful of things that must go right for the customer to achieve their goals and objectives.

The presentation is one of the key events. To create a successful presentation, the salesperson needs to gather and interpret the data gathered from the first meeting and then craft an innovative solution. This is the key to a differentiate solution. The salesperson needs to do the heavy lifting right from the first client contact in whatever form it takes including email, phone, Web meeting or face-to-face meeting.

Selling is more complex and competitive than ever because your customers’ buying process has changed. The primary cause of the change is the Internet and Web 2.O technology, through which customers can obtain much of the information they need without meeting with the salesperson. So the salesperson needs to know how to effectively use Internet tools to perform including networking, researching of the customer and the competition.

These days, competitive advantage is a function of how timely, effectively and innovatively companies operate. Your salespeople need to start by considering the needs of your customer and learn what’s new with the competition.

Effective sales leadership is about both managing the sales process and leading the sales team. Your sales management group manages the sales process by overseeing the ratios involved in converting a prospect to a customer. Sales leaders manage salespeople by providing them with insights that consider the needs of the sales organization, customers and competitors. The leadership must have an eye on achieving both short- and long-term results.

Sales can be a source of a competitive advantage. If sales management and the salespeople together are creating differentiated solutions that matters to your customers and baffles your competitors .

The six building block questions to consider when creating a differentiated sales strategy that will grow your sales profitably are:

  1. What is differentiation?
  2. Why is differentiation important?
  3. What does a salesperson need to know to create a differentiation strategy?
  4. What components can be utilized to create differentiation?
  5. How effective are salespeople at creating and executing a differentiation strategy?
  6. What’s the fastest way to determine if my sales organization is effectively and consistently creating and implementing differentiation strategies?

While you were reading this blog, your sales organization was creating a differentiated solution for a customer. Here’s my question: Is that differentiated solution helping you to win the business or hurting your chances?

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Photo credit: Don’t Hide Be different

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We begin by assuming that you already know the following information:

  • How to use LinkedIn
  • Name of your prospect
  • Title of your prospect
  • Company where your prospect works

Keep in mind that you are also looking for people who know your prospect as they may be willing to introduce you or, at least, share information.

The 7 tips are:

  1. Industry: Using LinkedIn, start by finding people to whom you are connected that are in the same industry as your prospect.
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How to Warm Up a Cold Call and Convert a Prospect into a Customer

For most salespeople cold calling can be the hardest part of the job and therefore salespeople will hesitate and do other things to make fewer calls than they know they should. I have found a solution, comprised of three components, that when properly integrated ensure consistent success in converting a prospect into a customer.

The best way to overcome hesitation (what I call double clutching) in cold calling is to be prepared. By researching the individual, company and industry prior to calling, you will have a knowledge base that will give you the confidence and skills to make successful calls. Your cold calls will be increasingly successful, which will make it easier to be more persistent. And this persistence will help you refine your skills thereby becoming best in class.

My solution is to ‘warm up’ the call before I make it, by making the process, the cold call foundation, more interesting, easier and more effective. Let me explain.

  1. Interesting: By doing some research on the individual, the company and the industry, I’m much more knowledgeable about them, which makes me more curious in approaching them to learn more about them.

  2. Easier: Once I know something about the individual, the company and the industry, it’s much easier for me to think about a potential solution that addresses their problems or helps them seize opportunities. This allows me to be ready with suggestions that will ultimately help them choose the right solution.

  3. More effective: Because preparation helps ensure that I am more relaxed and confident, the result is that I am a better listener, able to hear the client. As a result, my first call is often an excellent dialogue between myself and the prospect.

In simple terms my research is done at these three levels:

  • Industry

  • Company

  • Prospect

The first step is to understand the industry, at a high level. This will help me to understand my prospect as well as their competitors and to get an appreciation for how they differentiate themselves, as well as industry-wide issues and opportunities.

The second step is to understand the company. One of the single best sources of information about a publicly traded company is the presentation that many make at stock analyst meetings. Their presentation often includes their strategies, objectives and critical success factors. Reading this information will enable me to ensure that my solution (product/service) is positioned to help them achieve at least one of their critical success factors.

The third step is to understand the prospect or individual. Begin by doing a search on Google as well as on LinkedIn and look for information about this person, including their business experience, articles they’ve written, conferences where they’ve presented and people you know in common.

Many salespeople hit the wall when this research ends up with zero results, but there are 7 other ways to unearth information about the prospect.

If you would like to know what those 7 other ways are that will unearth information about the prospect send me an email [email protected] and I will send you the list.

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The Power Of Positive Deviance by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin and Monique Sternin

I was drawn to the book because of my fascination with the concept of sales best practices. My belief is that creative and innovative salespeople, sales manager and sales organization are models of positive deviance .

The authors describe positive deviance (PD) as “a simple concept is looking for outliers who succeed against all odds. PD is founded on the premise that at least one person in the community working with the same resources as everyone else has solved the problem that confound others. From PD point view individual differences is regarded as community resource area. Community engagement is essential discovering noteworthy variants in the midst in adapting the practices and strategies.”

PD process is most effective when addressing problems that:

  • Part of a complex social systems.
  • Requires behavioral change.
  • Entails solutions that are rife with unforeseeable or unintended consequences.

PD provides a fresh alternative to problems are viewed as intractable. It redirects attention from what’s wrong what’s right, those observable exceptions that succeed against all odds.

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