Buyers can derive value in many different ways from a solution but they must derive some value, a return on their investment.  While it is easier to measure this in monetary terms, it is not always necessary.  What is necessary is that they buyer understands the value they will receive.  The seller therefore needs to be able to articulate this as it relates to the buyer’s business.

The elements of training associated with Value are:

V1 - Why change?  Why should the customer choose your product when they already have a satisfactory one?

V2 - Why are you unique?  Why should the customer choose you rather than the competition?

V3 - What does a good opportunity look like?  How do you ensure that you don't waste your time chasing unprofitable opportunities?

V4 - Different Buyers; What are the different people that you need to meet and how do you deal with them?

V5 - Value Selling; how to sell your value rather than your product

V6 - Negotiation; how do you go about negotiating a win-win agreement where you are both happy?

Any or all of these modules can be built into a customised training course designed around your products and services.  Please contact us for more information.

Why Change?

How often do you change your bank account or electricity supplier?  Most people are paying more than they need to from their existing supplier.  By changing, they could save money or get a better service.  However, most of us never change because of the effort involved, even though in reality, the effort is actually quite small.  Change is difficult and for a time, we are unfamiliar with what we are doing so it can be a little bit daunting.

For a business, change can be even more difficult as lots of people will be impacted by any decision to change.  To persuade a company to change, you need to persuade lots of different people to change and then work with them to ensure that the change is successful.  This can be very daunting for any sized company.  As a result, companies will often decide to stay as they are.

Studies have shown that up to 60% of sales opportunities are lost to “no decision” rather than to a competitive bid.  Without a compelling case for change, the customers decided to do nothing.  Quite probably, they already had some form of process for doing what they wanted so decided that changing was too difficult.  Sales people need to work hard to demonstrate why change is for the better.

The sales person needs to paint a picture of what the future will look like.  It doesn’t have to be a completely rose filled garden (and certainly don’t have too rose tinted glasses on!) but it should be a compelling vision of what a customer could be doing so much better as a result of implementing a new process or solution.  They need to be reminded of this all through the sales process otherwise they will tend to do nothing.  Customers also need to understand the potential risks of doing nothing.  These may be regulatory, competitive or to remain profitable.  Without a clear understanding of the risk of doing nothing, customers will tend to do nothing.  

In this module, we look at what are the compelling reasons for a company to change and how you can use them to ensure that they select your solution to change to.

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Why are you unique?

In sales, almost nothing that you offer is unique.  The first smart phone was unique and Blackberry cornered the market for a while.  However, they were soon overtaken by Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Sony etc who all offer smart phones.  There is competition between them all and they each have a share of the market.  Different people have different reasons for choosing one phone over another.

It is the same in almost every sales scenario.  Your customer has a choice of which product or solution to select.  You need to convince them that you are the right choice.  You can only do that if you understand the exact requirements that your customer has.  If you do that, you can highlight the areas that you are most able to supply and focus less on those that the competition can supply.

You need to understand what is unique about your solution, both in comparison with the customer’s needs, and in comparison with your competition.  This may well change from opportunity to opportunity as the customer requirements change.

Be careful not to highlight things that are not unique or indeed that should be obvious.  Lots of companies claim to have great customer service.  They probably do but so they should and so should everyone else.  There is nothing unique about that.  Think about it from the opposite perspective.  Would you ever claim to have poor customer service?  Of course not, so claiming that you have something that should be a given is not differentiating you in the market place.

In this module, we look at some of your products and define what is unique about them so that you can best position them to your clients.

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What does a good opportunity look like?

Every sales person has lots of leads that might eventually lead to sales.  However, the reality is that probably only 10-20% of leads will actually generate revenue.  There is a temptation to think that working hard on all of them will increase the chances of closing more.  However, the reality is that working on all opportunities equally probably leads to less revenue as some that you should win end up being lost.  Studies have shown that it takes 50% longer, on average, to lose a deal than to win one!

Every sales person needs a method of determining which opportunities are most likely to close and then focus on closing those (while trying to generate more leads that are similar).  This way more of their effort is spent on winnable deals and less on deals that they are less likely to win.

To determine what a good opportunity looks like, we need to look at

  • Historical data – analyse previous sales and activities
  • Feedback – why did you lose previous opportunities
  • Experience – your own and your peers as to what worked and what didn’t

From all of this, create a set of benchmarks or criteria against which all opportunities can be judged.  These need to be objective with a points system to allow you to rank all of them against each other.  From this, you can then target the most likely ones to close and work more on those than others that are less likely to close.  In addition, you can use a gap analysis to determine a series of actions that will help to improve the chances of success of each opportunity.

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Different Buyers

In almost any buying situation, more than one person is usually involved in the decision.  In our personal lives, whether we are buying a pair of jeans or a new house, we will ask someone else’s opinion.  In the business to business world, there will almost certainly be multiple people / roles involved in any decision making process.  

Increasingly complex decision making means that between 6 and 8 people may be involved in any significant B2B purchasing decision in a 500 employee business.  Each of the people involved in the purchase will have a different role to play.  Generally, they are characterised as:

  • The economic buyer – the person who signs the cheque
  • The technical buyer – the person who approves the solution
  • The end user – the person who actually uses it.

Each person has a different set of objectives in the buying process and each will be motivated differently.  It is important in every sale to know which role each person is playing as the way we need interact with them differently.  

In addition, the personality of each of the people in the buying process will affect how they behave and how the seller needs to interact with them.  The buyers can be decisive, collaborative, relational, sceptical, analytical or innovative.  Recognising these personalities will be important in complex sales.

In any complex sale, it will be important to map out the different people involved in the process, to understand their objectives and their personalities so that you can tailor your approach to each of them.

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Value Selling

Customers do not buy your product, they buy the value that it delivers to them.  It is the sales person's role to translate the features and functions of their products into value for the customer.

The first stage of selling value is for you and your customer to agree on the problem and the cost and consequences of that problem.  If the cost of the problem cannot be quantified, then it will be difficult to get agreement to change.  Many projects fail to deliver value because the problem was never fully identified or there was never a problem in the first place.

Once you have agreed on the cost of the problem and developed a solution to solve it, the sales person needs to perform their translation.  This means developing a unique value proposition specifically for that client.  A generic value proposition may attract attention at trade shows or get you through the door, but only a specific value proposition for that problem in that client is going to deliver a successful sale.

By crafting your proposition to solve a specific problem with a precise definition of the value to be gained, you can start to eliminate discussions over price.  Once you can demonstrate a significant return on investment for the client, the actual cost becomes far less relevant.  This reduces the demands for negotiation and leads to quicker sales cycles.

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Negotiation Sales Training

Negotiating is the penultimate stage of the sales process, coming just before the close.  It should not be confused with the close although, at the end of the negotiations, both sides should be happy with the agreed deal and closure just requires signatures and delivery.

Negotiation is the process of movement to reach an agreement that is fair to both sides.  We believe that this should be the easiest part of the sales cycle as both sides want a deal.  Indeed, the golden rule of negotiating is that people will not negotiate with you unless they believe that you can help them or hurt them.  

In this training, we look at the negotiation as part of the sales process.  We review the process of negotiation itself and what preparation is required in advance of starting the process.  The course is very interactive with exercises, videos and role plays used to support the learning.  At the end of the course, participants should:

  • Know what negotiation is and is not
  • Know what preparation is required to be done
  • Be able to define the variables in any negotiation and how to trade them
  • Understand their walk away position
  • Know what tactics might be used as part of any negotiation
  • Learn about their negotiating style
  • Know how to handle objections
  • Learn about the dirty tricks some people will try
  • Practice everything through role plays.

We generally deliver this as a two day course but it can be expanded or contracted as required.

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