What type of relationship do you want with your customers? How do you want them to perceive you? Are you typically relegated to those who manage projects or do you get regular meetings in the C-suite? Much of this depends on the types of conversations you are having with your customers and can be a sales differentiator in itself.
You only talk to people about your products’ features and functions
- You get relegated to talk to those who manage projects
- Projects are already planned and budgeted
- You tend not to understand the business value from the customer’s point of view
- Projects are typically price driven
You only talk to people about the business issues that your products and services solve
- You can easily call into different levels of the customer’s organization
- Those you talk to typically openly share information as it relates to business value
- Some projects are planned and budgeted; others you are able to shape and create
- You do not always know the overall priorities at different levels of your customer outside of what your product and services solve and therefore your contract could be on the bottom of the procurement pile without you understanding why
You only talk to people about what they are trying to accomplish irrespective of what you sell
- You can regularly get meetings at different levels of the customer’s organization
- You understand what different levels at your customer are trying to accomplish and this knowledge of your customer allows you to have a broader view of your customer’s organization, and in many cases, you will be the conduit to share this information at different levels of the customer
- Your knowledge provides strategic thinking to your customer allowing you to provoke, create, shape opportunities and/or sell broader enterprise solutions at a larger dollar value
- You have a clear understanding of where your customer’s priorities are outside of what your products and services solve
You will not always be able to only have the strategic conversations but you must “Know Your Client
“. There are many details that have to be orchestrated both internally and with your client and those product oriented conversations are important. However, how you are perceived by your customer, will either open the door or shut the door to those at different levels of your customer. Reflect and think if you filling your pipeline with deals that are only important to you and mildly important to your customer or does your pipeline include deals that you have confirmed are of utmost importance for your customer to accomplish their business goals?
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results.
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