Business development communication is not a chorus where one side sings, then the other side responds. Sales professionals do more than sing. As listeners, their role stretches to include responding. Furthermore, the listeners’ role is to discern, then eventually accept. Listeners must understand! At that moment, the listener elevates to a true customer. If the listener gets truth from the speaker, then acceptance is more likely. In business the more the listener behaves like a prospect and accomplishes understanding, the more steps that the sales professional can quickly move down the selling process toward acceptance. Customers may suggest opportunities to introduce incremental value, like a new innovation providing increased capacity, or an added feature that produces the outcome faster. When the buyer can add another feature to products and/ or services, then the buyer benefits by getting more value. Often, this progress is accomplished with the seller responding, “Yes, I can.”, even if they don’t know how. Yet, they do figure it out.
Start selling by writing the story as the interaction begins. The most valuable solutions are not the ones that are delivered on the showroom floor. Commodities are innovations that stopped evolving. The most valuable solutions occur when the buyer can contribute their own individual specification, their size, their color, their delivery cycle, their shipping destination. Next, the customer accepts the vision. The seller provides the deliverable. Both sides use money to facilitate great feelings, to reward contributions, to satisfy egos, and to communicate superiority.
The more that the buyer can contribute to sales success through the previous terms, the more valuable that the transaction becomes to the buyer. The more latitude that the seller has for the buyer to receive a better deal on specialized terms, the more value that the seller can now uniquely provide. To ensure that the sale does not wander to become a copycat, the seller may contribute distinctive, special features that singularly belongs to the seller, or the seller’s organization. For example, invitations to special events, or singular product specifications, both gratify a decision maker’s ego and satisfies desires for being a singular customer. Additionally, by broadcasting VIP status repeatedly during the buying process, the resulting ego gratification for the buyer secures the insightful seller’s close win over competitors. Ultimately, validated emotions make any transaction’s experience individually valuable, as well as more resistant to competitive pricing pressures. This new space contains repeat customers and premium pricing.
Let’s Do This
Ultimately, price is a straightforward metric. It measures how badly a customer wants the product or service. Ego defines value! A buyer does not only measure success through transactional profits. Successful sales professionals understand the value chain of good vibes. Treating an influential administrative assistant to lunch has been known to smooth the path for insightful sales professionals. Emblazoned swag for an overworked, underappreciated group, or team, has likewise been successful in influencing support for a specific vendor’s proposal. These influencers do not necessarily shift the decision to one vendor or another. On the other hand, well-placed recognition, combined with tasteful and appropriate rewards for a department’s unsung heroes have been known to capture favor.
As for the superior, proficient sales representative, that individual wins the right to extend further their expertise so that their individual genius becomes an irreplaceable part of the value. Navigating mutually acceptable pricing is undeniably a highly valued skill. This ability supports upward price pressure for sellers, while still satisfying less quantifiable, yet more emotional needs for buyers. Fundamentally, this tactic secures repeat business for the seller’s side. A buyer who comfortably overpays is the pinnacle of superior salesmanship. At that point the seller’s individual value-add is tangible. Furthermore, that buyer is now primed to brag to colleagues about their experience and why it was elite! This sales interaction now cultivates the most desirable referrals.
At the most productive levels, sales professionals thoroughly internalize the benefits of long-lasting relationships. Trust is delivered and reinforced at every interaction. Pricing is necessary. Someone must keep score. But, the successful sales professional completely comprehends that success is measured in long-term value. The short-term wins are necessary. Singular sales success keeps the engine running. Nevertheless, the path to enduring business victory remains where execution resulting in complete satisfaction for both buyers and sellers happen concurrently.
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Author of “Storytelling Wins The Best Engagements“
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