Value creation is still a popular term even though concepts like sales enablement or account based selling seem to be front and center these days. In working with a new client, I once again realized how value creation doesn’t really exist because what is really happening is value connection.
People buy to satisfy a want or need. Since the want or need exists consciously or subconsciously (latent needs), then salespeople cannot bring something into existence (create) that was already present.
What I believe good salespeople do is discover what the buyer values and then connects his or her solution to those very value drivers. Now if the buyer had taken the Values Index, the Attribute Index or even the DISC Index, then the salesperson could have a head start to understanding and then connecting to what the buyer values.
Value Creation Unleashes the Seller’s Ego
My biggest concern with this idea of value creation is the salesperson believes he or she can create value and that belief may have him or her walking down the no sales path. The salesperson walks in with the knowledge of the industry, some knowledge of the customer, hears (not actively listens) what the buyer is saying and now knows what the buyer values. His or her ego is in charge of the sales conversations and potentially ignores clues because the seller has been there done that and knows what this new customer values.
People buy on value unique to them. This is why there is such diversity in the world. The decision is made to buy from one salesperson even though the other salesperson had the same or even better solution.
Connecting to the value driver’s of the customer sometimes is easy and sometimes not so much. Good to top sales performers probably engage in value connection without realizing it. Consider looking to how you can connect your solutions to the value drivers of your buyer and discover if this makes a difference for your own sales success.
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Yesterday, I personally experienced how just one word creates buying distrust. I also experienced how a seller recognized and overcame that buying distrust. Let me quickly explain.
Buying Mistrust a Short Story
Two weeks ago I made an appointment at my health care clinic. The intake person said I would be seeing Mindy. I asked who was Mindy and the person responded “She’s the doctor.” My doctor had relocated out of state and was no longer at this clinic.
Yesterday was the appointment. In completing the paperwork, a question was raised about my preferred pharmacy. I told the intake person that I preferred a written prescription so that I can check prices online. She said “you can talk to the doctor about that.”
When Mindy came into the room, she introduced herself as a nurse practitioner. This caused immediate distrust because my expectation was to see a doctor. I had been told twice I would be seen by a doctor.
I voiced this concern. Mindy recognized I experiencing distrust and gave me the choice to see a
medical doctor or to just continue. She demonstrated excellent emotional intelligence and I decided to continue with her.
Even after 40 plus years of dealing with customers and being in sales, I once again realized how quickly buying trust can be placed by buying distrust even with loyal customers. Trust be it in business or one’s personal life can never be taken for granted.
In working with clients, I continually stress the importance of consistency in all aspects especially in behaviors. Here just one word, doctor, spoken twice to a loyal customer planted the seeds of distrust.
As a side note, my husband had visited the same clinic. On his visits he has been told he would be seen by the nurse practitioner. My experience confirmed this organization has an inconsistency in communication behaviors.
Just imagine each day how many customers or patients experience this collision of expectations and inconsistencies? Who would really appreciate how this collision has the potential to be caused by just one word?
Trust even with loyal customers can never be taken for granted. Every interaction must continue to build trust. To fail to ingrain this principle into the organization’s culture or what I believe is truly the sales culture can be the organization’s Achilles’ heel.
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Building upon selling or sales being the transference of feelings, the question then becomes how to ensure those feelings are transferred? In working on some sales training for a new client, I discovered this acronym to do just that – CREATE powerful sales conversations.
People have one chance to make a good first impression and for salespeople this first impression will either open the sales door of opportunity or close the door for good. In realizing the importance of those first sales conversations, this acronym may just help to support crazy busy salespeople in their goal to begin to transfer those feelings between themselves and their buyers (think sales leads or ideal potential customers).
CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations
C – Communicate with clarity and intention. Be deliberate and cohesive in your communication. Make sure to actively listen because good communication is far more about active listening than active talking.
R – Respect your buyer. Respect goes beyond normal common manners. Here you showcase your business ethics such as by active listening, not interrupting and honoring any promises you made during your interactions with your sales lead. Also this is where you don’t presume you know more than the buyer. Leave your ego at the door.
E – Empathy. For those who understand emotional intelligence, empathy is an intrinsic human characteristic. Can you identify and understand the other person’s feelings? Remember, do not confuse empathy with sympathy.
A – Authentic. Be who you are authentically. People can spot phonies a mile off. Anymore it appears buyers’ phony radar system is on HIGH ALERT.
T – Timing. Understanding the timing of your words, your non-verbal body language is also essential. Great comedians had exceptional timing. They watched their audience. Rushing through the sales process because of some sales script is foolhardy.
E – Energy. Being confident, not overly, displaying positive energy all support those transference of feelings. Just think about how many times you purchased from a dull, low energy person?
Powerful sales conversations go beyond the words. Possibly this acronym of CREATE may assist you in your selling endeavors. Let me know if it works for you.
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So what is the reality of selling? If you listen to many of the sales trainers, sales consultants to sales authors, the reality is 100% focused on the salesperson. Ask this question, make this comment, etc.
However, the reality of selling hasn’t changed since man began exchanging something for something else. Zig Ziglar said “Sales is the transference of feelings.” Each of those exchanges between seller and buyer resulted in the transference of some feelings.
Doesn’t it make sense to redirect sales training to the buyer instead of the seller? Some sales training programs and sales consultants do focus on the buyer as through the application of the DISC psychometric assessment (talent assessment). Those who understand the behavior principles behind DISC can apply those principles through their sales communications with their buyers.
The Selling Myth That Distorts Reality
Possibly one of the the greatest selling myths that distorts reality is sales people create value. The reason this is a myth is because value is unique to each buyer because each buyer is a unique individuals with unique experiences and expectations.
Of course people can be easily fooled since the human ego likes to be front and center with internal thoughts of “Look what me!” Then what happens “Watch me go! I just created value!”
The ego takes over the sales conversation. Now the focus is on the salesperson and not on the buyer because the salespeople believes he or she knows best based upon his or her experiences.
Selling is rather simple thought not necessarily easy for probably 97.7% of the small businesses in the US as they have under 20 employees and for the most part do not engage in buying decisions with multiple decision makers. Complex sales usually require a larger workforce probably with the exception of technology and software programs.
When we remember to keep the selling authentically focused on the buyer and look to create those transference of feelings (relationships), then possibly sales success has a greater chance of actually happening. Just remember sales is a process and one or two calls don’t make for a relationship.Share on Facebook
The marketplace is filled to the brim with sales training, sales books to sales coaches. Yet at the end of the day, what is sales truly about?
My father taught me sales was about buying. You as the salesperson had to build a relationships between you and the prospective buyer or even center of influence to be successful. He believed focusing on selling was a big error and allowed the ego to interfere in the buying/selling bridge. Maybe that is why he shared these two buying rules with me.
#1 – People buy from people they know and trust.
#2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.
In the ensuing years I added a third buying rule based somewhat on the Theory of Self Determination (Deci and Ran) along with the works of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Dr. Gordon Allport that being:
#3 People buy on value unique to them.
The reason I asked the question of “What is sales truly about” is because there is so much focus on the behaviors of the salespeople, the behaviors including motivation of the buyers are often ignored. What happens is the seller gets fairly wrapped up in his or her own ego, the mind is filled with a lot of next step triggers and the actual buying process takes a backseat to the selling process. When this happens, earning the sale becomes far more difficult.
Here is where some sales objections happen as well as where stalls pop up. Now the seller must work far harder to convert the reluctant buyer.
This is why I believe top sales performers naturally know to stay quiet and to focus on the prospect. These individuals also appreciate the autonomy within the Theory of Self Determination and then leverage their knowledge of DISC theory as developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston.
Zig Ziglar recognized what sales is truly about when he said “Sales is the transference of feelings.” That transference always begins with the buyer.Share on Facebook
So what makes individuals top sales performers? There are specific aspects as identified within the 5 Point Sales Leadership Model and yet I believe it goes way beyond that to the attitudes of these individuals.
The “Ations” Attitudes of Top Sales Performers
Inspiration – Looks to continued sources of inspiration from working with clients to further personal and professional development
Demonstration – Consistently demonstration key sales skills, talents, emotional intelligence, goal achievement and overall self leadership skills including high business ethics
Exhilaration – Being exhilarated by sales success as well as continued sales prospecting efforts
Frustration – Accepting frustration is part of the overall sales process and sales engagement
Imagination – Looking at the marketplace with creativity
Innovation – Seeking new ways to build relationships to adapting solutions to meet today’s dynamic and ever changing marketplace
Motivation – Understanding what propels their own behaviors and the behaviors of their sales leads
Realization – Knowing what is real and working with what is, is
At the end of the day, top sales performers have different attitudes than average salespeople. They are truly forward thinking and not content to stay with the flow.
William James also believe in the power of attitudes when he penned these words:
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”
Possibly you may wish to add your own “ations” attitudes from your sales experience.Share on Facebook
Good sales skills are essential. Yet with all the emphasis on the more technical skills like discovering wants and needs; asking open ended questions or turning stalls into objections, I sometimes believe we are forgetting the two fold purpose of these skills:
I just finished reading a well written and very results driven article by Tony Hughes about the secrets in how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator more effectively. The key takeaways reaffirmed the incredible power of communication and engagement for those within sales leadership roles.
- 44% of salespeople give up after one contact (Source: Scripted)
- The average salesperson makes only two attempts to reach a prospect (Source: Sirius Decisions)
- 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the first meeting (Source: The Marketing Donut)
Yet when most of the sales training is reviewed, how much time is actually spent on communication from phone calls, to voice mails to emails to other forms?
Check out Mark Hunter’s book – High Profit Prospecting. He provides some great communication and engagement templates.
Then when we examine engagement, the focus again returns to technical sales skills and yet skills associated with engagement are either ignored or briefly discussed.
21st Century Selling Goes Beyond Typical Sales Skills
Possibly part of the reason communication and engagement are not considered priorities within sales training is because most sales training focuses on selling and not on marketing. Herein lies the problem.
Peter Drucker said a “…business has two basic functions, marketing and innovation. Everything else is a cost.”
Marketing is rarely ever included within sales training because most sales training is model on what works for the big firms with over 500 employees. Unfortunately in today’s marketplace, 97.7% of all U.S. businesses have under 20 employees. These firms do not have the luxury of having departments devoted to marketing. No it is the salespeople who are the first contact with potential sales leads. This is why communication and engagement are the first sales skills salespeople demonstrate.
If you missed the reason for the this new sales leadership model and an explanation of the other four points, you can learn more through these posting:
- A New Sales Leadership Model
- Goal Achievement in a New Sales Leadership Model
- Sales Process in the New Sales Leadership Model
- Self Leadership Is Required in Sales
- Sales Leadership Requires You Know What You Do Well
Over the last 10 years, I have discovered this startling fact among those in sales leadership roles:
98.7% do not know what they truly do well!
The irony, if you want to call it that, is 95.4% of these same salespeople know what they don’t do well.
Sales Leadership Question
Why do winning sales teams win?
- Answer A) Because of the weaknesses of their salespeople
- Answer B) Because of the strengths or talents of their salespeople
Most sales managers, SMB owners and salespeople respond with “B, of course.” So if that is true, then why do so few salespeople know what they truly do well?
Through one if not the most accurate psychometric assessments in the marketplace, the Attribute Index, salespeople and other professionals learn how they make decisions externally and internally along with 78 core talents that can be separated into:
- Interpersonal – talents used when making external decisions
- Intrapersonal – talents used when making internal decisions
Some of the intrapersonal talents begin with this word of “self” as in self confidence, self direction, self esteem, self management or self starting ability. The interpersonal talents include accountability for others, realistic goal setting for others and relating to others.
When people do not know what they do well and focus their efforts on what they think they do well, numerous opportunities are missed.
What is even worse, people through conditioned behavior continue to prioritize fixing their weaknesses even though knowing full well sales success comes through one’s strengths.
Isn’t it time for those in sales leadership roles to truly know by having crystal, clear clarity what they do well?
Benjamin Franklin understood the power in having clarity around our strengths, our talents when he said:
“Wasted strengths are like sundials in the shade.”
Can you afford not to know what you do well? Learn what you do well along with what motivates you and how you communicate through this SPECIAL OFFER. (until 2/28/2017)Share on Facebook
In business there has always been a lot of attention directed to leadership. Yet far lesser attention to this idea of self leadership. As has been noted earlier, many presume people know how to lead themselves through earlier educational experiences. However, research shows self leadership which falls into that bucket of people or soft skills is sorely lacking.
Self leadership is about the individual getting results.
To secure the desired results begins with these two mindsets:
- Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is a mindset where one is always challenging the status quo; looking toward the future and making changes if and when necessary. Sometimes the status quo is working and to make a change for the sake of making a change is simply ridiculous.
Motivation is also a mindset because the mind is what controls all behavior. Using the Theory of Self Determination allows individuals to identify what is limiting their motivation:
- Purpose (as it relates to people)
In some sales training or business leadership programs, self leadership is included as a subset of sales skills or even talent development. Again there is a presumption people have the capacity and consistently demonstrate this capacity.
If this was true,
- why do 44% of salespeople give up after making one call? (Source: Scripted)
- why do the average salespeople make only two attempts to contact a sales lead or prospect? (Source: Sirius Decisions)
Continuous improvement and motivation are essential in securing results and working with the other aspects within the 5 Star Sales Leadership Model. Top sales performers do not rely on the business in providing the incentive for ongoing learning or motivation through recognition or rewards.
In today’s world with so many solo entrepreneurs as well as businesses with under 20 employees, business leadership and sales leadership are partners. These two roles must work together to achieve sustainable business growth.
Until 2/28/2017, learn what motivates you as well as how your behave and what is driving your decision making process through this special opportunity.
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Given over 97% of all businesses within the US are under 20 employees, many lack a simple sales process. By not having a process impacts the ability to determine where there are gaps limiting increase sales and ultimately the overall sales culture.
SMB owners today cannot afford to have separate marketing and sales departments. In many instances, the SMB owner is the primary role of sales leadership manager. He or she must find salespeople who understand marketing in today’s marketplace and can utilize the variety of social media and technology platforms to prospect. Finding new sales leads becomes the responsibility of the salesperson.
Then after the marketing phase of the sales process has been successfully completed, the selling phase begins. Here is where the salesperson attempts to convert the sales lead into a loyal customer.
After the salesperson earns the sale, then the third and final phase of keeping the new customer kicks in. This is probably where many salespeople even in the larger firms miss new sales opportunities because they have failed to ask for at least one if not more than one sales referral or stay in contact with the now loyal customer.
Alignment between the sales process and the other four points of the 5 Point Star Sales Leadership Model is essential if the desired results are to be achieved. For example if the salesperson cannot successfully plan, set and achieve his or her WAY SMART goals, the results are diminished.
Download this simple 3 Phase 7-step-sales-process-advsys
There is plenty of SMB research that shows the loss dollars when prospecting fails, when sales conversions fail and when loyal customers go elsewhere. By employing a simple sales process closes the gaps and stops the draining of those valuable profit dollars.
P.S. To not include marketing within your sales process in today’s marketplace may severely limit your ability to not only increase sales, but have a sales culture of high performance. Marketing goes beyond paid advertising and is 100% about salespeople building relationships built on trust and their ability to convey exceptional knowledge in an emotionally engaging approach.Share on Facebook