August 13, 2012 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: communication, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing
Customers are feeling pressure to get more done with less. So they’re reducing the number of salespeople they do business with. At the same time, salespeople are trying to increase their sales to present customers.
Customers won’t give you all of their business at once — they want to see how well you perform before making a major commitment.
Salespeople who stay focused on the needs of customers are less likely to be unseated by special deals offered by competitors. They may also be rewarded with increased customer loyalty and repeat sales.
10 driving principles
There are 10 driving principles that will build credibility and trust with customers, and make a positive impact on results:
- Be bold. Increase your success in retaining and growing current customers by focusing your efforts on calling on the right people in the right accounts with innovative and unique ideas. Offer innovative ideas and insights. Customers are so busy dealing with their own competitive pressures that they don’t have time to discuss tired ideas. What have you learned from other customers with similar issues that can relieve your present customer’s pain immediately? Packaging these insights creatively is key to increasing your business.
- Be a true consultant for your customer. Talk business strategy with your customers. Show how your offering advances their strategies. Create solutions that solve your customer’s problems. Customers expect solutions that support and drive their central business strategies.
- Talk results with customers. Show how your product or service can positively affect the customer’s performance. Identify the appropriate needs and create a compelling case for your solution.
- Be innovative. Increase credibility as a trusted advisor by bringing to the table innovative, highly differentiated solutions that respond to customers’ unique business challenges.
- Do your homework. Focus on both results and the relationship. New conditions demand new strategies. Know more and turn that knowledge into value. Customers want insight. Go beyond asking good questions about the customers’ situation. Before getting in front of the customer, know the answers to questions about the customer’s own customers, competitors, strengths and weaknesses.
- Resist the pressure to just sell something. Overpromising to customers is a frequent trap that some salespeople fall into. Gaining the sale in the short term may create havoc downstream. The outcome is predictable. Customer trust is eroded, business what should have been won is lost, and entire relationships are jeopardized when needed most.
- Focus on results and relationships. Show commitment to your customer by adding value. Conduct periodic account reviews to summarize the value you’re providing and pinpoint areas for improvement.
- Go to school on your competitors. They have never been more aggressive or more vulnerable than right now. Develop defensive strategies and points of view. Help your customers develop strategies for dealing with their competitors. Be proactive in providing advice and insight.
- View each customer’s company as a market. Focus efforts on segmenting and capturing share of this market. Leverage successes and relationships.
- Achieve customer loyalty. Because customers are continually changing, the factors on which they evaluate sales organizations are changing also. Achieving customer loyalty is a job that’s never done. Customers are always evaluating you to see how well you’re meeting their current needs.