Research shows that even a customer who is perfectly satisfied with your company, your products, and your salespeople will nevertheless leave you for a competitor who offers a more attractive deal. That thought should disturb your sleep, because most salespeople, even good ones, do no more than satisfy their clients.
Satisfaction isn’t enough. A genuinely loyal customer is one who values something about your company so highly that he or she stops shopping for better deals. If you have any customers like that, the overwhelming likelihood is that the thing they treasure so highly is a relationship with one of your salespeople.
‘Loyalty’ implies a relationship. Who must build it? Your sales-force.
How can salespeople become so valuable that their clients turn a deaf ear to competitors? Action Selling identifies three roles that every successful salesperson must play.
Orchestrator: This role has to do with leveraging resources and coordinating selling activities in ways that demonstrate how the salesperson’s relationships and his or her company’s resources can provide valuable solutions to the customer. For instance, the salesperson might bring in a technical expert to help a client think through a problem.
Consultant: Like a doctor diagnosing an illness, the salesperson asks questions-that effectively uncover the client’s most important problems. Then the salesperson recommends solutions specifically targeted to those concerns.
Relationship Builder: The consultant role is essentially reactive. As a relationship builder, the salesperson moves beyond “asking where it hurts.” The salesperson takes an active interest in helping the client’s company improve its competitiveness, becoming a trusted and valued partner in the client’s business. In the relationship-builder role, the salesperson serves a universal need that does not go away—the client’s need to keep getting better at what they do.
Another term for relationship builder is loyalty builder. Even among salespeople who learn the Action Selling system, relatively few are able to shine in this most advanced role without additional guidance and practice. Those who do become black-belts—masters of loyalty. To their clients—and to their own employers—such masters are worth their weight-in-gold.
Action Selling In Action
Here is a story that is either very satisfying or very painful, depending on which salesperson you resemble. Both are very experienced sales-veterans. One received Action Selling training.
Tony Aguilar of Blue Diamond Fuel says, “I was known as the best oil salesperson in the Brooklyn, N.Y., area. Then I went through the Action Selling training. I was very stressed initially, trying to do the process right. I knew that I had to stick with it. I’m sure glad I did.”
Tony called on a company whose decision-makers were reluctant to meet with him because they were “satisfied” with a supplier they had used for more than 40 years. Using his newly acquired Action Selling skills, Tony was able to build enough trust with the oil buyer to get the first appointment. With a series of calls, each one accomplishing a new objective that moved the sales-process forward, his relationship with the company grew until…
“I wonder how that other salesperson feels, losing an account they had for 40 years,” Tony says.
Contact us for information about how to turn your sales-force into a loyalty force.
ABOUT DUANE SPARKS
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).