PART I. Sales Technology Sells Itself
Dialogue 1. Selling the Technology
It all started with a meeting between Jack, a trainer and a coach of win-win sales technology, with George, head of the Gourmet sales department. This company supplies convenience foods to restaurants and cafes.
Jack: Hello, George. Competitors will overtake you if you can’t sell your goods more successfully, easier and without unnecessary concessions, if you don’t care about the buyer’s benefit and don’t protect him from troubles. Jack Jackson, trainer of win-win sales technology. Nice to meet you.
George: I am also pleased to meet you, Jack. So, you offer us a training on your technology - how is it?
J: Win-win sales. Yes, you understood correctly.
G: Whom and what will you teach?
J: Whom? Your sales force. What? How to sell your goods more successfully, easier and without unnecessary concessions, how to take care of the buyers’ benefits and how to protect them from threats and troubles.
Your marketers: how to quickly and accurately identify the needs and benefits of consumers of your products, and how to formulate compelling marketing messages.
Your engineers: how to create products that are really necessary for consumers.
Your managers: how to use the benefits of win-win sales to accelerate business growth, how to establish and maintain long-term relationships with your customers, how to create the image of an honest and decent company and strengthen its role in the market.
Of course, not all at once. You need to start with introducing the managers to the basics of the approach in order to garner their support, then start working with the sales force. Everything else should be done later.
G: Stop, stop, stop! Are you going to change everything here under your “technology”?
J: Of course, not! I’m talking about win-win sales. But in order to get maximum results everyone else should support it. Of course, this is the ultimate goal so that your company gets the maximum benefit. But maybe, the immediate goal is enough, to teach the sales force only. Up to you.
G: Wow, it’s too ambitious to involve the entire company! First, at least, explain what is at stake.
J: Sure. First things first: your company needs not just business growth, it needs to grow faster than the competition, right? Business growth depends on the sales efficiency and the growth in the number of your consumers. And what does it mean to sell more efficiently? Selling with a better success rate, with less effort and higher profits. This is the way to increase your market share. And then you can create a positive image for the company and ensure the recognition of its brand. Aren’t these benefits attractive? Let’s see how to get them.
In order to sell more successfully, easier and more profitably, you need to increase the share of successful sales, increase customer retention, sell on better terms and form a loyal customer base. To achieve such advantages, you need to be able to establish trusting long-term relationships with customers, cooperate rather than compete with them during the sale, and convince them honestly, but without making unnecessary concessions. These skills comprise the technology of win-win sales.
What differentiates this technology from other sales approaches? First, it focuses the seller on the buyer’s benefits; second, it helps the seller find ways to prevent troubles that threaten the buyer due to the purchase of your product; third, it offers simple algorithms which require minimal intellectual effort.
Let's see how all these things are connected.
The seller, interested in the buyer’s benefit, sells the product which allows buyers to meet their needs better. This style of sale renders buyers wanting to possess the goods. This is the prerequisite for the purchase. But this is not enough.
Almost every sale faces the buyer’s objections. The buyer is not happy with the price, goods quality, payment terms, the seller’s company, or the need to decide “here and now.” This is not so much an objection as a concern: if goods are purchased on the seller’s terms, the buyer or his company faces some kind of trouble. This fear makes it difficult to decide on the purchase.
How to overcome this obstacle? Conventional sales technology offers to handle (actually, overcome) customer’s objections. There are three ways to do this: convince the buyer, deceive him or make a concession. In the first two cases the buyer loses, in the third the seller does. Such a loss isn’t a good foundation for long-term relationships and customer retention, is it?
What does the win-win sales technology advise? Find out from the buyer what trouble he fears and help him find how to avoid the threat. Then, nothing prevents buyer from deciding and buying goods. This is the second prerequisite for the purchase. Cooperation in finding a solution, real concern for the buyer’s interests form the rapport and lay the foundation for long-term good relations and customer retention. As you know, customer retention is much more profitable than acquisition of new customer. Working with a stable customer base is much more convenient and easier.
More often than not, the solution does not involve any concessions from the seller. Sales happen on the seller’s terms, which is much more profitable than a sale with concessions.
The salesperson who uses the technology with simple and convenient algorithms, who prepares for various situations by doing his “homework” gains a lot of confidence. A confident seller often succeeds rather than leaves without closed deal. Hence, the success rate increases. Such a confident seller does not need to manipulate the customer’s thinking, deceive or “convince” him. He simply cooperates with the buyer, helps him acquire the needed goods and avoid troubles.
This is the main competitive advantage in the company sales: increased efficiency. What benefits are delivered by this advantage?
The company can benefit from growth of sales efficiency in two ways. Option one: reduce the number of sellers. Of course, these savings are one-time, they don’t play a big role in the company business. The second option: to expand production in order to deliver the goods to the growing clientele in a timely manner, to win more and more buyers from competitors, thereby increasing company market share. This is the business growth. Which one to choose? It is up to the company leadership.
An increase in the market share is accompanied by growing popularity of company brand. The marketing and PR should be restructured. The company attracts buyers by offering them only those products that meet their interests and needs. To ensure this, the close interaction of marketing and engineering services is needed. This new interaction will pay off with a new positive image of a company that seriously takes care of its customers.
It sounds, of course, like a fairy tale. I learned the technology – I began to sell better – customers immediately reached out to me – I outstripped the competitors – I became the market leader. Too good to be true, right? Exactly. In fact, this is the truth, more precisely, half of it. As always, there is a second side of the coin: what should you pay for a dream-come-true?
First, part of your sellers should be distracted from their main job for two weeks. They will put all their efforts into learning the technology and the development of necessary skills. Then, for three months I monitor their work, correct their mistakes and hone their skills. Naturally, this is not for free, it will cost you $130K: 10 days of training for a group of 12 people, $10K a day (this is the average price for sales training), and $10K a month for coaching. In order to increase returns, it needs the support of management, marketing and engineering. All of them, too, need to be introduced to the basics of win-win sales and convinced to use the new principles in their work. Each one-day training costs $5K. You also have to invest in motivating the sellers. The amount of material incentive is up to you. But all these investments quickly pay off.
That’s all, in a nutshell.