Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016 - (Page 18)

Constant change and uncertainty have exhausted buyers. The global economy has made every major purchasing decision seem like life or death. Customers today are trying to keep up with changing marketplace dynamics by innovating and taking their company from its current state (X) into the future (Y). They need salespeople to help reduce complexity and guide them through the chaos of this transformation. This presents an opportunity for training professionals because while industry insights and product knowledge quickly become outdated, causing them to struggle to keep up with change on their own, salespeople will continue to need to help their customers manage change for at least the medium term. Much has been written in recent years about the need for salespeople to provoke or challenge their customers to drive change through insights. There's a lot of truth to that within the trusted advisor concept, particularly when it's done with genuine humility and curiosity rather than arrogance and condescension. While this relationship requires trust, trust alone isn't enough. Customers want help narrowing down the options and making the right buying decision. Customers now expect salespeople to be navigators. Customers have a destination in mind. Typically, that destination (the vision for Y) is defined by the business goals they want to achieve and the targets they need to hit, as well as the dynamics of their industry. They may or may not know the best path to take, but they will engage with someone they believe will guide them toward that destination. Navigating the sales journey with a customer is a three-step process, and it has little to do with intrinsic personality traits; it is a set of coachable actions that can be designed into training and made into habits through on-the-job tools. GREAT SELLING TODAY: NAVIGATING CHANGE By Lou Schachter & Rick Cheatham That destination can be thought of as the customer's desired result and can be communicated by the customer in multiple ways, including vision of success, goals and metrics. Becoming an expert on the customer's desired result means asking the right questions and having sufficient business acumen to understand the answers and know what to do next. By showing customers that you understand their destination and starting point holistically and by making it clear that you are genuinely interested in their results, you begin to earn the right to provide the customer with navigation assistance. In an environment of customer change, applying navigation skills requires you to fully understand the customer's vision of their destination. Once you figure out what the customer's destination is, you must deeply understand the customer's vision for achieving it. That takes, in part, familiarity with the metrics that the customer will use to measure the success of reaching the destination. NAVIGATION STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE DESTINATION NAVIGATION STEP 2: CLARIFY THE PATH First, you have to gain a full understanding of the customer's intended destination. The second step for salespeople who want to use navigation skills is to offer expertise 18 along the journey to the destination. That, too, begins with questions. Few customers are standing still, waiting for their journey to begin. Most have already begun the process. So the salesperson must ask questions about what they have done so far and where they have been. This includes topics such as current strategic initiatives, marketplace trends they are leveraging, and innovations and improvements they are making. Applying navigation techniques also means understanding how the customer organization views the X starting point. There is no path without both X and Y. Some of the greatest value that salespeople offer is something that most salespeople don't even recognize: their awareness of how other similar companies are executing. Providing expertise on the journey involves sharing insights and examples about what other companies have discovered along the way. This is also the time to challenge traditional thinking and offer insights. Many times, great salespeople can highlight what the customer sees as constraints but are actually self-imposed limitations. The salesperson can recommend alternative paths to success that the customer, who is just too close to

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016

Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016
Perspectives on Sales Training
Table of Contents
Four Ways to Increase the Impact of Sales Coaching
Sales Training: Is It Worth It?
Trust Is Dead. Long Live Trust!
The Salesperson's Most Valuable Portfolio: Aligning with What Matters Most to Your Customer
Great Selling Today: Navigating Change
Big Data-Driven Sales Training
Designing an Effective Sales Training Program
Putting the Cart Before the Horse?
Helping Sales and Marketing March Together
Modern Sales Management
What Sets High-Performing Teams Apart
Four Keys to Rapid Behavior Change
Do Your Salespeople Know Where They're Struggling
Banish the Other Four Lettered F-Word
The Secret of Sales Enablement
What's Online
Company News

Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016