Entrepreneurism and selling go hand in hand. Until something gets developed, it cannot be sold, and even if it fully ready to go, can it be sold successfully.
I just returned from my annual trek to the Miller Heiman sales conference and thought I would share some selling related point with you (in the interest of full disclosure, I am a certified Miller Heiman sales consultant and facilitator).
Each year we review the practices of companies to learn what works and what could be improved. This year was no exception. Here are some points for you to consider when attempting sales engagement.
According to McKinsey’s 7 Levers Model, organic growth, the realization of new business, can be assessed from several components of selling that contribute to success. Those components are:
- Shared Values are at the core and interrelated to all other components
- Style/culture (how an organization communicates and respects priorities)
- Structure (is there access to appropriate resources)
- Systems (how is information gathered, processes, shared, recorded for future use)
- Staff (sufficient resources are required to sustain any business)
- Skills (having appropriate subject matter expertise is required to convince many clients)
- Strategy (where are you, and how are you going to get where you need to go)
The McKinsey 7 Levers Model provides you with a framework to evaluate where you need to focus some attention to increase your chances of successful sales. The goal is to position yourself as the solution that will help customers to be successful after choosing you and your products or services.
Additionally at our meeting, we explored various aspects of the drivers of why customers buy. What is the “trigger” that is compelling them to even consider making a buying decision. Ask yourself the following question: What triggered the need in your client to buy something? That information, once obtained from the prospective client, can help you to position your solution most effectively to connect with their reason to buy. Sounds simple, right? After years of selling I can share with you most people who are in selling mode, fail to establish the trigger reason and miss the opportunity to better connect with the prospective clients. Try it next time and see if you can identify the trigger and sense of urgency.
Another highly effective method of communicating is to identify the role your prospective client is playing in the buying decision making process. You will find it necessary to tailor your responses to suit their area of interest. For example, the CFO will be interested in the financial benefits of selecting your solution versus some else’s. The IT manager has concerns about specifications, standards, security, and degree of difficulty in implementing your solution. Address your answers to each and everyone’s concerns. These are two examples. There are others for everyone involved in the buying decision making process and no two will be alike.
Another area we learned of best practices associated with determining with as much precision as possible why you won a sale, or why you lost. This win/loss assessment provides guidance on what you need to do to improve your selling processes. Review every win and every loss for as long as it takes to uncover the patterns. You will not be sorry you invested time in this activity, especially if you are a small and growth oriented company.
Next time we will discuss some more thoughts on what is changing in the world of selling and how companies are transforming their findings in to actions to be more successful selling. In the mean time, check out this link for more information regarding the McKinsey findings. [http://www.tompeters.com/docs/7SHistory.pdf]