Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sales Superstardom – it’s all in the swing

You may think that your role in IT Sales is to sell more. This is not the case. It may well be your goal – but not your role. Let me explain.
Perhaps an analogy will help. It’s like in sport – let’s say golf. When you tee off on a long hole – you may think your role is to hit the ball hard so you can achieve the long distance. Wrong. If you focus on hitting the ball hard – you are likely to miss hit it and perhaps with embarrassing results. The key with golf – or indeed most sports – is to focus on using the right technique. With golf - it’s all in the swing.
So in sales, with a goal to sell more, where should you focus to maximise your results?
A good sales swing comes from focusing on buyers – not on selling products. No buyer means no sale. Or put another way – you cannot sell anything – unless you are engaged with a buyer who wishes to buy from you. It sounds obvious – but the implications are enormous. Your role is not to sell stuff – it is to firstly find a buyer – qualify that he has a real need and that you have products or services which address the need – then influence him to spend his money with you. If you succeed in this with enough customers – you will achieve your sales goals.
To improve your sales technique, think about the steps a customer goes through to make a purchase and figure out how to help him want to buy from you. Note that customers will follow this process with or without you. Your role is to make it with you.
We can break down the process as follows:

Need
Every purchase begins with a need. In order to increase your pipeline – you must identify more customers with a qualified need. The only way to do this is to talk to many customers. It is still a numbers game in sales! The key is to ask open questions about their situation and challenges they face. In the process, you will uncover needs which your products and services may be able to address.

Specify
The customer will be faced with many choices both in terms of technology and vendors to work with. Your role here is to help advise him. Get closer to him and build your relationships and trust. By introducing technical expertise and helping your customer narrow his options by making informed choices – you can increase your influence.

Choose
By the time your customer comes to choosing – technologies and supplier – the influence you have built will greatly increase your chances of winning the deal.

Buy
At this stage, the deal is hopefully yours . You will need to ensure everything is lined up in your favour – which includes the customers trust that you can deliver, the right products and services in place and of course – the right price. Don’t forget to ask for the PO!

There are many techniques and skills required to be a sales superstar – but unless you keep your customer and his needs at the centre of what you do – you’ll find your pipe-line turns into a pipe-dream.


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