Uncommon Sales Practices (part 1)
That moment in a customer call. When you are not sure if you should make a bold move. You take the risk. Then, the Oh My God moment ensues. Your mind smiles. Progress!
We are all selling to someone. Our mangers, peers, customers, spouses and more. Over 3 parts, I’ll be sharing the uncommon practices I’ve learnt that elevates the top 10% to the top 1%. These mantras can be applied by anyone, especially in enterprise software sales.
This is not your standard list of “sales best practices”. Paradoxically, best practices make you average, since majority of people follow them.
1. Test your champions — adding value to customers and building champions is important. But how often do you test them? A true Champion will ally with you, stick their neck out for you, and move mountains for you. Are you confident they’ll do that for you?
Test champions by asking for: intros to important stakeholders, access to confidential information, personal cell #, being included in internal meetings and more. Build, and test.
2. Get champions to present — the final decision maker is likely to consult their most trusted lieutenants before making the call. If you’ve converted (and tested) these lieutenants to be your champions, leverage them to present the business case when closing a deal. Champions feel the pain the most, and should articulate the value of your solution the best. I’ve never seen a more passionate moment than my champion selling to the CTO.
3. Prioritize what is important — whenever there is a list of things (e.g. pains, requirements, goals), prioritize them. Otherwise you risk chasing low priority items . In the post-COVID economy, our customers’ world is binary — either a priority, or dead.
4. Quantify everything — Key to successful selling is good qualification of pain. Key to good qualification is good quantification of pain. If pain can’t be quantified, then it is not being monitored. And if it is not monitored, it is not as critical as you think. Quantification questions are: How much…? How long…? How many…? When…?
5. Q: “What’s your opinion on [solution you are selling]?” — I have never seen a conversation turn around so quickly. Customers almost always have preconceived notions, conflicting thoughts, and only share the company’s perspective, not theirs. They may take the lead on an initiative they don’t know much about, or not fully bought in on. This question reveals their true feelings. It turns the business conversations into personal ones.
6. Listen more, talk less — Listen to learn, rather than listen to answer. Focus on having the customer talk. Listen to repeated words, listen to emotions, listen to why it matters. The more you know, the better you can help the customer. Chorus.ai, a call analytics tool, tells us it is abundantly clear, speaking for ~ 30% of the time leads to highly engaged customers, actionable information and positive outcomes.
Then listen again. Listen to your calls to fill gaps. You’re never going to get it all in one call.
7. Don’t interrupt golden minutes, & hold the point — Interrupting the customer’s thought process drastically changes the course they were on. And you will miss out golden minutes. Similarly, at the end of a golden minute, hold the point. Keep quantifying and understanding the why, so that you know the story equally as well as the customer does.
8. Texting and Slack-ing your customers — these are personal and private mediums. If you are texting/slacking your customer, you’ve expanded out of professional trust and into personal trust. With Slack, you can get invited to internal channels, and see day-to-day interaction. Handle this trust with care.
Which one will you practice on your next meeting? Do you have any uncommon behaviors?