One of the most self-defeating assumptions sellers make is that the buyer has all the answers about his business. Breaking news: he doesn’t.
It is because of this assumption that many sellers simply hit-and-run. They present their product or service expecting the buyer to “see” how it fits into his life or business and hop to the next buyer.
This is basic selling. It’s like selling bread. To grow, realise that buyers are like patients and most only share symptoms and are unaware of root cause. To grow, help them in identifying it, become their third eye.
For instance, the CEO buyer displays confidence, assurance and certainty because he is the leader and not because he has the answers to all the problems.
What’s the alternative? Walk around uninspired, with his head hanging? Sellers, who work with CEOs, for example bank corporate relationship managers, oil company sales people who sell through dealers, and consultants, become useful to the CEO when they display a genuine desire to assist in solving his challenges and not merely to sell.
This means thinking long-term, understanding his company’s strategic direction and his vision. With these in mind, it means providing business value with every interaction if the sales momentum is to be kept going.
It means sharing industry insights and ideas and how they impact on his business. For instance, it is an exciting dynamic what is happening in the digital landscape: data, voice and TV are slowly losing silos.
Giving your (informed) insights into how you see the landscape shaping out makes you a useful member of that industry’s CEO’s think tank. This could include links via email with captions like: “This will help with your running strategic objectives.”
To get the pump station dealer to buy more fuel from your company requires more than, “please order more from us.” It requires well thought out insights into how he can get more vehicles fuelling at his station. Such insights are not always directed at closing a sale. No that ship sailed with the sale of bread.
The insights keep the sales momentum going to demonstrate that “we are in this together”. It is the ultimate seller who accepts that not all interactions must be immediately commercial.
One of the things those who sell to CEOs will admit is that the CEO won’t simply open up to you. You must earn his trust for him to show a chink in his armour — that he does have a weak spot.
And when he opens up to you, the last thing you want to do is abuse that privilege. Abusing it comes in the shape of having a loose mouth, talking to him in a self-righteous manner and expecting that your input should be his decision.
And it’s only one of many. The ultimate decision is his he is still the vision carrier. It’s much like men in the pub may give their input about how you should deal with the wife problem. It is the unwise man who takes such aice and blindly implements it.
Although not all of us interact with the business owner or CEOs, the principle applies. Interrogate your assumptions about the seller and find ways to keep the sales momentum going. You are there to help him identify and deal with the root cause of symptoms.
Kageche is lead facilitator, Lend Me Your Ears, a sales training and development firm. firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY