If you are reading this, you and I share something in common. We are both invested in the business development process. Maybe it’s your job and you are trying to pick up some pointers. Perhaps you manage a sales team and you want to help them grow. Either way, you are here because sales is part of your job. If it’s a direct part of your role, we may or may not share another trait. I don’t love prospecting and making calls. There, it’s out on the table. If I want to stay in business, I have to find new customers and it’s one of my least favorite things to do. Our best selling Customer Oriented Selling program helps salespeople understand the important information they need to understand before a sale can ever be made.
Guess what? Your prospective customers like it even less than you do. I mean, let’s face it. When was the last time you called a prospect and when they answered the phone they said, “ Boy am I glad you called! I was just thinking I should buy something today.” Never, right? Hasn’t happened to me in the 20 years I’ve been at this. The good news is, it’s not personal. The person you are talking to on the other end of a business development call is most likely juggling some weighty issues. Our best selling Customer Oriented Selling program helps salespeople understand the important information they need to understand before a sale can ever be made. Most often, these fall into the following three categories:
These include all the things that have been happening inside and outside the organization that have an effect on the business. As a result, the business has to react (and with situation factors, it’s most often reactive) to. As an example, I live in the heartland and there’s a large agricultural manufacturing facility nearby. They produce tractors and harvesting equipment. The economy applies pressure to the operation of this organization as people decide to do with what they have rather than purchasing new equipment. These outside forces can come from other sources in addition to the economy. Competition, government regulations, new technologies, etc. can all have the same effect.
In response to the outside pressures, the company has to provide a response from the inside. In the example of the economy slowing the sales of tractors, the company produces less equipment, and because of that, has started to reduce their workforce to account for that production change.
What to do: Your job is to know as much about the situation factors influencing the business before you call to have a conversation. A quick search of news related items for the company and you can find a tremendous amount of information.
Every person you talk to has goals they are trying to achieve. Objectives fall into the following categories:
- Sales and Marketing
- Facilities / Infrastructure
- Human Resources and company systems
Depending on who you are talking to, she may have goals that fall into one or two of the following categories above. Rarely will you find someone who has goals that cross all.
What to do: Your job is to have a good understanding of the goals and objectives your prospect is trying to achieve.
This pertains to how things are purchased in the organization. What happens if the prospect eventually likes what you have to say and is ready to buy? Can individuals make buying decisions on their own? Are there dollar limits that trigger involvement from others, or is there a purchase order process that you will have to eventually navigate?
What to do: Your job gets easier if you know the answers to these questions before you start down the business development path. In larger organizations, a call to the purchasing department will give you all the needed information. If you are dealing with a small company, you will want to uncover these details early in your conversations.
The better you get at understanding what’s happening from the customer’s perspective, the easier it becomes to position yourself as a person that can “help” rather than just the most recent version of the person who’s calling to “sell”. Because remember, people are much more likely to accept a solution that will help them solve a problem than they are to buy something from you.