This is a guest blog post by Doug Davidoff
For more than 20 years I’ve worked, firsthand, with more than 1,500 companies and I’ve personally observed almost 10,000 salespeople. As each year passes, I notice that 90-95% of salespeople are working harder and harder, just to keep pace.
I’ve also noticed that there’s always about 5% of salespeople who have nothing to do with the treadmill. They’re always growing – regardless of market, industry, size or even the economy.
What’s more is they don’t work harder, and they achieve their results effortlessly. Those who have hit that one golf shot in a round that keeps you coming back, or athletes who have experienced “the zone,” know precisely what I mean by effortless.
I’ve learned that the difference between the 95% and the 5% has little to do with talent, nothing to do with the product or service they sell, or with some hot, new technique. The 5% realize that to control their destiny, drive revenue and profit growth and multiply their incomes, they must create demand.
Creating demand can look very similar to traditional selling, but it’s quite different. There are five key principles that the 5% focus on, which others overlook or ignore.
- The best time to influence and control prospects are when they are not looking to buy anything. The 5% are able to enter conversations and engage with prospects before the buying process even begins. This enables them to actually provoke the process.
- Customers don’t understand their own problems, and, if all you’re doing is addressing their perceived needs, you’re going to be on the treadmill. Customers know they have some pain, and they may even know they want the pain to go away. The 5% create real value and separate themselves from their competition by enabling customers to connect to the real cause of the problem. The 5% take a diagnostic approach to sales.
- The status quo is your enemy; neither your competition nor your customer’s procurement department is your biggest barrier to sales. The 5% know that their real job is to stimulate the need for and manage the change process. Rather than focusing on their solutions, they keep the focus on the customer’s problem, helping them to understand its consequence. By building the case for change, the 5% win business at higher values with no competition.
- Customers want to be challenged by salespeople. They’re looking for salespeople who can bring unique insights that enable them to do their job better. As such, the 5% utilize what we call a Commercial Teaching Point-of-View that challenges the customer, provokes their awareness to the real problem they’re missing, and aligns with the key advantages of their offerings.
- Solution is merely another word for commodity. The 5% understand that they’re not going to drive faster, higher profit sales by peddling their products. Instead they develop the business acumen that enables them to “earn a seat” and engage their customers at a deeper level. They know their customers better than their customers know themselves, and create value by providing valuable insights that are customer focused.
About the Author
Doug Davidoff is the founder & CEO of Imagine Business Development, helping organizations and salespeople transform their approach to accelerate growth, profits and income. You can read his blog at www.thefastgrowthblog.com, or subscribe to his Weekly Fast Growth Tips.