What do you think is required to move your business relationships from good to great?
In Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, the principles can be applied to how salespeople build relationships.
For example, the “Hedgehog Concept” which means having a simple, extremely clear concept of what is best in your business.
Let me ask you a question, Is what you are doing right now something you can…
- Make money at
- Be passionate about
- Be the best in the world at
The Hedgehog Concept is not about a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, nor a plan to be the best. It is a deep understanding of what you can be the best at. The distinction is absolutely crucial to catapult your success!
Lets closely examine the three circles within the Hedgehog Concept. Set aside some quiet time. Reflect upon each question focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other sales rep. This can become your path to greatness.
How did that feel? This is the beginning of you becoming the best sales person possible as you develop powerful relationships. The best area to focus in on is where the three overlap. This is where you will have the most success.
WE LIVE IN A NEW WORLD
As sales reps you are operating inside a business era defined by two-way relationships between you, your clients and your prospects. The deals you are involved in right now are being defined by emotions and relationships not just dollars and cents.
Your clients and prospects of today are much savvier then in years past. They expect you to pay attention to them. They also have instantaneous and much louder methods of voicing their displeasure as well as the support they’re getting from you.
“Greatness as a sales rep is a conscious choice and a discipline”
BUILD REAL RELATIONSHIPS
The oldest, most effective strategy is as powerful today as it’s ever been; real relationships. Relationships enhance revenue opportunities, relationships sell, relationships bring in connection and human acknowledgment.
Relationships are not one-sided communication, they create conversations. The countless automated Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn blasts repeating the same message over and over ad nauseum without any engagement takes the social out of Social Media.
In small doses, automation can be highly effective, particularly if it makes your work more efficient, however; efficiency at the expense of building a real relationship is virtually always a losing proposition.
I urge all sales reps to get engaged. Create the marital bliss with your clients and prospects. Shift your mindset as engaged relationships translate into increased sales opportunities. Build true relationships, not just one-sided affairs and watch as your sales skyrocket.
3 CRITICAL AREAS SALES REPS MUST EMBRACE
In the relationship economy, the investment you make isn’t about money, it’s in the relationships you build with your clients and potential clients. These relationships become sales currency. I encourage you to invest in the relationship economy. You can take this one to the bank!
AREA 1 – FOCUS ON AUTHENTICITY
How many sales reps build a brand around a facade? Far too many! They feel like they have to act a certain way, appear a certain way and even communicate a certain way.
Relationships are based on trust and trust is based upon authenticity. Your clients and prospects B.S. meters are extremely sensitive. They can spot insincerity a mile away. Unless you are authentic in your relationships, your clients and potential clients aren’t going to trust you. In fact, they’ll actively avoid you as they spread the message to all their friends and colleagues.
Your authentic you must be a genuine reflection of who you are. You must believe it. You must own it. You must know what it stands for. You must know your strengths and your weaknesses. Proudly wear those emotions on your business sleeve.
People connect with other people. It is all about the personal connection. If you are ‘blowing smoke’ up people’s backsides what’s the likelihood they will trust you?
Authenticity is a Magnet
AREA 2 – STOP SELLING SO HARD
Developing new or expanding upon existing business relationships is not about selling – it’s about establishing trust, rapport, and creating value without selling.
Engage with your clients, communicate with them, add value to their business, solve their problems, create opportunity for them, educate them and inform them, but don’t drop the sales hammer on them all the time!
Stale sales methodologies and disciplines simply die a slow and very painful death.
What do a loaf of bread left out on the counter for days and the sales processes that most in sales use have in common?
Left untouched they both become stale.
The problem with many sales reps is they still go to market with the same principles and techniques used back in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I point the finger directly at management for allowing this to continue to happen. Technology supporting the sales process has clearly changed, however; traditional only strategies run amuck inside a vast majority of sales teams.
Trust me when I tell you your existing and potential clients have heard all the sales rhetoric before. They can smell all of your old school closes a mile away. They can sniff antiquated selling strategies, and immediately change the mental channel on presentations not deemed relevant.
SPIN selling, SNAP selling, SOLUTION selling or even The Challenger Sale model, there’s no one size fits all selling methodology. What’s concerning me about sales reps today, whether you believe me or not, is the lack of truly building genuine relationships. In other words, just plain giving a rip!
“If you want to increase sales revenue, increase profitability, increase client satisfaction, drive brand equity, stop selling so damn hard and start adding value”
AREA 3 – LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF YOUR CLIENTS
Successful sales reps listen.
“There is so much you can learn when you just listen”
Sales reps love to talk and they only listening with the intent to answer versus listening with the intent to understand. As our prospect or client speaks we are already formulating the response in our heads, waiting for the moment to chime in, not hearing the full message.
Listening is the key to becoming a powerful sales rep inside the relationship economy. Developing excellent listening skills separates the good from the great. When you listen to your clients and prospects you uncover their pain points, their business goals, their personal data; all this to do one thing – strengthen the relationship.
When you don’t listen you miss all the critical material to build a meaningful relationship.
In, 5 Proactive Paths Next Gen Sales Reps Use To Grow Their Sales Revenue, I refer to next gen sales reps developing a proactive sales strategy in order to gain net new business or cross sell solutions to existing clients. No proactive developmental sales strategy is a recipe for disaster.
The same can be said for listening. Sales reps must become proactive listeners. Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs. If a sales rep doesn’t understand their prospect’s problems, issues or initiatives, how can they sell them a solution?
Ask questions learn about their needs, challenges and their pain points. Ask open-ended questions to get information, peel it back even more and probe for clarification. Summarize and repeat back what they’ve said to show you were listening and that you’ve accurately understood their business problem.
IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
It’s not about you, your company, your products nor your services. It’s about meeting your clients and prospects needs while adding value. Start paying more attention to them by building real authentic relationships. Soon you’ll find out you no longer have a sales revenue problem to complain about.
The single most important factor in creating additional sales – become a relationship engineer. If you don’t engineer absolutely everything around your client, your client relationships will vanish right before your very eyes.
Don’t be just become another vendor, become a trusted advisor and advocate. You can do it!
I understand, I get where you all are coming from. Every day, I walk in your shoes. I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way, the genuine way, the authentic way!
In 2016, I was recognized by ENX Magazine as, “The Difference Maker,” as someone who is making a difference inside the B2B office technology sector. I am passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image
You can find more advanced training material inside the Social Sales Academy website.
I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive office technology world. With great pride I transform, challenge, coach and inspire sales teams to grow new business by helping them tell their story and communicate it out by integrating the use of social media. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Social Sales Academy and on my podcast by clicking on Selling from the Heart.