I had a great conversation with John Cousineau of Innovative Information the other day. The focus? What works with crazy-busy prospects — the topic of SNAP Selling, my #1-ranked Amazon sales book. Here's his take on a highly valuable strategy that's working for sellers today.
Sellers: Spend More Time Thinking About Being Helpful
Many salespeople are so busy they haven't the time to be helpful to buyers. The irony in this is that, today, frazzled buyers need help more than ever sorting through the complexities of their businesses.
Yet when salespeople take more time to think, they make the seemingly impossible for buyers become possible — they help frazzled buyers make smart, timely, buying decisions.
Sales superstars who do this kind of thinking on behalf of buyers routinely out perform their peers. They're exceptionally successful because they take the necessary time, and invest the necessary effort, to think hard. They see possibilities others miss.
As an example, a major retailer asked a colleague in storage and warehousing to quote on the costs of racking and equipping a large new distribution centre.
The salesperson analyzed their plans and requirements, then returned to the retailer's VP with a simple request: “I'd like you to raise the roof on the building by 12 inches.”
The VP, predictably, asked: “Why?” The Rep: “after you've purchased everything I could possible sell you in the finished space, you'll have created 15% more storage space and saved $3 million in associated construction costs.”
The Rep then went on to identify other changes which would save the VP another $1 million. The VP ordered the changes and has since given all his business to that same Rep.
It's one thing to try to be exceptionally helpful, it's quite another to know if you're succeeding. Discovering this requires feedback on buyer behaviors showing you just how helpful you've been so far.
A buyer asks questions. You offer to find and email answers. You then do so. Does the buyer then take the time to review the info you've sent? Buyers are just like the rest of us. They're too busy to read info that's of no interest to them.
As Reps practice, more often, their tactics with a high Return-on-Effort, their productivity improves.
Reps' efforts trigger, more quickly, more reliably, and more often advances in buyers' journeys.
Consider this example: a Sales Rep in transportation + logistics, armed with feedback which confirmed just how helpful he was being, picked up the cadence of his sales efforts.
- He began calling at the cadence of his buyers.
- He made an honest effort to make every buyer's conversation with him helpful.
- The details he emailed after every conversation let buyers do their due diligence on their own schedules.
- After two weeks, he confirmed such feedback was proving enormously helpful to him.
When someone suggested, at the pace he was progressing buyers, he might close a deal or two the next week, he said: “No way. I'm dealing with buyers who have no need to buy from me for at least another four months.”
By the end of the next week, he'd closed 3 new deals with new customers. Two of them were small deals. The other: a 6 figure deal.
In a nutshell, if you want to win more, think more. Being helpful will let your raise the roof on deals you're pursuing. Then, know the Return-on-Effort you're getting from your sales tactics.
Do both and you'll discover the keys to closing deals in a fraction of the time and effort it's taking you today. You'll be less busy in your activities and more helpful in the eyes of every interested buyer.
Just a thought.
John Cousineau is president of innovative information inc. Follow his ideas on informed innovation in B2B sales productivity at http://blog.innovativeinfo.com or via @jcousineau on twitter.
If you'd like to help your sales team perform at a higher level, request a demo of his firm's sales productivity tool, Amacus via http://amacus.innovativeinfo.com.