In business to business selling, the race does not go to the swiftest. It might go to the biggest or most famous competitor, or the one with the glitziest product presentation — but only if none of the sellers succeed in differentiating themselves. If the client perceives the choice as a coin toss, the business will go to your better-known rival.
There is a way to stand out from the herd and to win business no matter how big an edge your competitors appear to have. It always comes down to the same thing. If you do the best job of understanding the client’s real needs, and gain enough trust that the client will walk arm-in-arm with you toward a solution for those needs, you win. Every time. Against any competitor, anywhere.
You can win every time, against any competitor, anywhere.
Our sales book “Sales Strategy From the Inside Out,” describes what “walking arm in arm” looks like through the eyes of buyers and sellers alike. It also explains how Action Selling enables and drives a systematic sales strategy — a step-by-step process — that makes buyers want to take your arm because they perceive you as a trusted, valuable partner. The process works regardless of the complexity of the sales environment or the number of decision makers involved.
Here’s one key to a winning strategy: Manage the pace of the sales cycle. If you are ahead of the competition, speed things up. But if you’re behind (maybe because your competitor is more famous), then slow things down. It takes time to Ask the Best Questions that reveal a buyer’s true needs and the unspoken criteria that really drive major buying decisions. Showing the client that you’re willing to invest that time builds trust.
How do you slow things down? Schedule logical milestones and gain the buyer’s commitment to hold off on a decision until the next milestone is reached. Each milestone completed successfully builds trust that helps you gain commitment for the next one.
The more you’re trusted, the more is revealed. The more is revealed, the more you understand. The more you understand, the better able you are to build more trust and to establish your extraordinary value. The virtuous cycle never ends. And the strategic sales process that creates the cycle never changes. Once you learn how to perform the magic, the magic keeps right on working.
Discover how to take the complexity out of complex sales environments.
Action Selling In Action
Roscoe Medical Inc., a medical-equipment maker based in Strongsville, Ohio, used an Action Selling strategy to slow down a client’s buying process so that Roscoe could differentiate itself and win out over better-known competitors.
The buyer, a health-care equipment distributor, invited 18 vendors to make presentations over a 2.5-day period, says Mike Giesken, Roscoe’s vice president of sales. At stake was $750,000 in business for three product categories. The presenters included the biggest names in the industry. “We were an afterthought,” Giesken says.
The client intended to make a decision by December 31 of last year. But the sales cycle was extended by more than 40 days after Roscoe began asking questions instead of just hawking solutions.
Roscoe emerged as the client’s primary supplier for equipment in all three categories. How? Here is what the buyer’s primary decision maker told Giesken: “He said it was our sales process that really set us apart. He said that we understood them better than anyone else. We not only took the time to listen, but we obviously cared. And then we did what we said we were going to do.”
Contact us to find out just what a winning sales process looks like.
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).