Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary. Being a salesperson can be a thankless job. Why is sales so challenging? The issue is one of attention.
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Here are the passages I highlighted:. After the first reading, I strongly suggest a focus on your value proposition. Weak value propositions are the most common root cause of ineffective selling. When pursuing corporate contracts, most sellers want to ensure that decision makers know all about the full range of products, services, or solutions that they provide.
This lack of specificity is extraordinarily detrimental to their sales objective and actually creates massive roadblocks for them. As a result, sales revenue typically lags far behind projections. Because the marketing and sales teams blame each other for the dismal results, they never really solve the problem. My targeted customers clearly had an immediate, urgent need for help. The success or failure of a new offering is highly visible in the company.
If the new product flopped, everyone knew about it. Careers were at stake. Windows of opportunity would be lost, market share could erode, and the lifetime profitability of the product would be seriously diminished. Not only that, but companies have a lot more money at launch time. In my early meetings with corporate decision makers, I never confused my message by sharing with them the entire breadth of my services.
The focus of our discussion was always on their product launch issues. Once I had a successful project under my belt, I let my clients know how I could help them in other ways. New fires keep popping up every where as urgent matters distract them from focusing on the important. I recently talked to an executive from a manufacturing firm whose salespeople were really struggling because of changing customer demands.
Corporate buyers are also incredibly savvy regarding their options. They know that products or services like yours are available everywhere—and probably at a lower cost. From their perspective, almost everything is a commodity. Cynicism reigns supreme. The only thing that seems to counteract it is real customer stories with actual, tangible, and measurable results.
The reality of the situation is that people in big companies really do have an unrealistic workload. They get sucked into a chain of band-aid solutions, making kneejerk decisions to put out the fires and jerry-rigging systems to keep them afloat. Rather than addressing root causes, they treat the symptoms, which ultimately leads to a whole slew of unintended negative consequences. The last thing in the world that corporate decision makers want is to create more work for themselves.
Even the very best, most positive change is disruptive. Their extreme need to protect their time at all costs makes the status quo your most formidable competitor when selling to big companies. Change really has to be worthwhile to get someone to move. Many times prospective decision makers will set this trap too by asking for information on your new products, services, solutions, or technology.
Never, ever expect corporate decision makers to intuit the value of your offering or make the calculations themselves. Your biggest competition today is the status quo. Unnecessary change only adds to the stress of an already overburdened workforce. Make sure every conversation or meeting is well-planned and provides high value. Sales is not a bunch of mysterious, manipulative techniques you can master that trick customers into buying from you. These sellers know that if they help their customers solve their problems and achieve their objectives, success automatically follows.
Once they identify these areas, they literally lead a sales campaign to help their prospect understand two things: 1 why change is an imperative and 2 why their solution is the answer. This demand-generation focus is proactive and provocative, as opposed to the traditional seller who simply responds to existing needs.
Sellers who are successful today know that customers can go online and find out all that stuff in seconds. They realize that they must create value with every customer interaction.
They do this by helping clients see their business operations differently, by sharing useful information, by questioning the status quo, and by doing much more.
They make customers think. They bring customers ideas and insights. Customers want to get together with these sellers because they always get something of value from the meetings.
They know that their customers could care less about buying new software or training their staff. They realize that customers invest in their offering because of the outcome they get. These top sellers are fully cognizant that their knowledge and expertise are the reasons that customers want to work with them. By bringing your knowledge, expertise, and ideas to the relationship, you separate yourself from all the product-pushing peddlers out there.
Ultimately you become irresistible; customers want to do business with you. They like the status quo. So do the calculations for them. Quantify the difference you can make. Give them numbers, percents, time frames, and statistics. Your product or service is simply a tool. No one wants it in and of itself. You must get this firmly implanted in your head. Customers buy your product or service only because it helps them improve their business operation.
Think about when you were a teenager. Adults probably tried to share their hard-earned wisdom with you on numerous occasions. The louder they talked, the faster you turned them off.
In order for anyone to penetrate your protective walls, they had to take a different approach. When you know your target market well, you know the trade shows they attend, the magazines and trade journals they read, the Web sites they visit, and more. You invest less money on your sales and marketing with significantly improved results. Because prospective customers can find you more easily, referrals go up. Finally, you differentiate your business from competitors, thus increasing your profitability.
Pure and simple. Your vague or nebulous statements about the benefits that customers get from using your product or service are likely the root cause of your account entry problems. A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services.
It is focused on outcomes and stresses the business value of your offering. A value proposition is financially oriented and speaks to the critical issues your target market is facing. A strong value proposition is specific, often citing numbers or percentages. It may include a quick synopsis of your work with similar customers as a proof source and demonstration of your capability.
Both the elevator speech and the USP are cousins of the value proposition, but both lack its punch for capturing the attention of corporate decision makers. Your offering is simply a tool. Decision makers care only about the results your offering delivers for them. Corporate buyers are particularly attracted to phrases that are linked to their business goals and objectives.
Can your business do any of these things? How about something similar? Perhaps you never really thought about your products or services from this perspective.
But because this is what corporate decision makers listen for, make sure to integrate these business-oriented terms into your value proposition. The more specific your value proposition, the more attractive it is to decision makers. The very best value propositions deliver tangible, measurable results that are highly desirable to prospective buyers. Tangible value is typically expressed in numbers, percentages, and time frames.
A well-designed Web site may cut the need for customer service staff. A more efficient just-in-time JIT ordering process decreases the amount of warehouse space and its associated costs. Always try to quantify the indirect values as well as the direct ones.
Sometimes the value of your offering is not quite so easy to measure. Perhaps you help companies lower risk, increase teamwork, enhance marketplace image, or improve morale. Maybe your products are eco-friendly or made by disabled workers. To increase your sales success, take these intangibles and make them tangible. For example, if morale is improved, fewer sick days are taken and employee turnover is reduced. She told me that if a seller approached her and said he could reduce waste by just 1 percent, she would meet with him immediately.
Because she knew exactly how much her company spent on waste, and it was a lot of money. Every penny she saved would go right to the bottom line. Powerful value propositions open doors—quickly! Making the effort to clarify your value propositions is well worth the time invested in the process. Here are several well-crafted value propositions that have proven extremely effective in opening the doors of large corporate accounts.
With the spiraling costs of health care today, this is a critical issue.
Notes on Selling to Big Companies
Here are the passages I highlighted:. After the first reading, I strongly suggest a focus on your value proposition. Weak value propositions are the most common root cause of ineffective selling. When pursuing corporate contracts, most sellers want to ensure that decision makers know all about the full range of products, services, or solutions that they provide. This lack of specificity is extraordinarily detrimental to their sales objective and actually creates massive roadblocks for them.
Selling To Big Companies Summary and Review
Digg This Save to del. Got some free time this weekend? I'm part of the faculty, along with some other people whom I highly respect. It's well worth your time!
Selling to BIG Companies
Apr 02, Jill Konrath, bestselling author of Selling to Big Companies , participated in a minute teleseminar on Mar. Roberti : Please take a moment to tell us about yourself, your sales background and how you became an elite sales trainer. Konrath : I worked at Xerox for many years, then moved into selling technology, and I was often frustrated that the marketing department would not always give us salespeople the information we needed to be successful. Too often, we got a lot of information about the new features in the product, but nothing about how they would benefit our customers. I started my own sales training business in
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