Okay, how many of you were terrorized by the title of the post?
I will venture a guess – all of your who enjoy the comfortable path of no possible conflict with a customer or prospect.
This is same attitude which has helped to create the commodity pricing environment we all hate – or should hate since our margins are squeezed big time.
What I’m talking about is directly related to the impact of the great recession of 2008-2009. Buyers and sales people alike got scared of making a mistake and the old comfort zone has taken center stage in our b2b sales world.
Yet, some new research on highly successful b2b sales people has come out. In fact, the July-August edition of the Harvard Business Review is dedicated to sharing information about this new research on high performing b2b sales people.
It seems these high performers are doing something different.
First, they are studying their own company and products to find what is different about what they are offering to their customers. More importantly, they are looking at the benefits and advantages their customers are receiving using their products or services. Think return on investment as well as the market which best fits your product or service.
Second, they are studying their competitors to totally understand what they focus upon in their offerings and what results their customers are receiving. This allows for some competitive matrix to be developed for your review.
Third, they review the industry trends and identify any coming changes. Changes could be legal, technology or competitive changes. These factors help you identify how to get on the leading edge of the change curve.
Fourth, they think about how they have helped their customers as well as what their customers are beginning to ask for today. Again, these high performing b2b sales people are monitoring the upcoming new best practices – even before they are mainstream.
Finally, they take this new information and look for change catalyst in their prospect or current customer organizations. Such changes are new leadership, new strategy, new markets, or even new product lines. Whenever there is a catalyst for change there is a corresponding opportunity to land new business or new accounts.
Your goal is to identify new opportunities and then challenge the status quo by using your new found information and energy to show a prospect or customer a new way to get improved results. Improvement is the key to landing new business without going through the RFP steps of reduced productivity and lower margins.
Challenge your prospects and customers by showing them a better way to get results. Use case studies or testimonials to show you know what you are talking about and they need you on their team providing insight and wisdom to improve results.
The days of just going along for the ride is over – assuming you want to be a high performing b2b sales person. Be bold and go for the gold.