The rules for sales have changed. Here are the new rules.
You have to nurture your dream clients over time. The very best accounts for you and your business already have a relationship with your competitor. You are going to have to work on these relationships over a long period of time. Nurturing means you make enough deposits in these relationships to eventually make the withdrawal that is an opportunity.
You must establish yourself as a value creator. What are you known for? If I look at LinkedIn or your personal site will I be able to discern how you are valuable to me? You need to be known, and you need to be known for the value you create for others. This needs to be crystal clear.
You need to use every method possible to prospect. Last week, a half a dozen articles popped up on the sites I visit reminding me to make cold calls. One business I work with won just over $10,000,000 dollars in new business by cold calling . . . this quarter. Go ahead and use inbound and social channels. But use every other method, too.
You have to be able to differentiate yourself and your company during the first meeting. Your first meeting is a test, an interview. You won’t get to a second meeting unless you can quickly differentiate yourself and your company. The very best way to do that is with a powerful set of questions and a more powerful set of ideas that make a difference.
You need business acumen and deep situational knowledge. Over the past four newsletters, I have written about “insight.” It’s the highest rung on the ladder (so far as we can see from here). But you can’t stand on that rung until you’ve climbed up using all of the lower rungs. You need business acumen and situational knowledge. This isn’t easy to acquire, and it should be a top priority for your personal and professional development.
You have to share the process you will go through with your dream client. If you want to move smoothly from target to close with your dream client, share that process with them. Show them what needs to be done, what conversations need to be had, what information needs to be exchanged, and what commitments you need to make together. They don’t have a written buying process, and they’ve never seen your sales process.
You have to create a higher level of value. This is the biggest mistake I see sales organizations making now, and it is the subject of my primary keynote and methodology. It isn’t enough to sell a product, a good experience, or a compelling ROI. All of these ideas have been commoditized. You have to create a strategic level of value, something I call Level 4 Value Creation. You have to be super-relational and part of your dream client’s strategic advantage.
You have to help your contacts build consensus. The second biggest mistake most salespeople and sales organizations are making right now, and the subject of my second most popular one-day workshop for sales teams. The reason the status quo is so entrenched in your dream client’s company is that no one has done the work of building consensus. You want to win deals faster? Help build consensus.
You have to justify the case for change and your pricing model. The contacts within your dream client account want to buy from you. But people within their organization are going to ask them questions. Why are you changing this? Why are you doing this now? Why are you spending more instead of taking the lowest price? You need to arm your clients to have these internal discussions. You need to provide them with the justifications that allow them to win those internal arguments.
Look over this list. Which of these rules are you breaking now? What are you going to change this week?
P.S. My wife is friends with a family whose oldest adopted daughter just had a brain surgery. Most of the 8 children they’ve adopted have special needs, including another daughter who just had surgery on her leg. Audrey, the daughter who just had the brain surgery, ended up with pneumonia, but she’s bouncing back.
I am holding a special webinar on Friday, May 23rd at 4:00 PM ET for anyone who donates any amount to Audrey’s fundraiser. I am going to spend an hour and a half answering your questions and helping you however I can. Want to ask me your most pressing sales-related question? Want to ask me how to deal with a difficult prospect? Need language for a conversation you need to have with a client? Whatever it is, I’ll do my best to help you.
If you decide to donate, email me the receipt at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you an invite to the private webinar.
Thanks to all who have already helped! I appreciate you!