In business to business selling (particularly small business selling), good sales people begin to fail when it becomes about them.
I see it all the time but I don’t mean when it becomes about being number one, or hitting the goals or maxing out on commission plans;- ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Consider rather, the talented Sales Rep who begins with a new company or now has to sell a new product. He or she is trained and coached to present to the small business owner not only what this product or service does for them but what it does or has done for small businesses just like the prospect they are speaking to.
That makes perfect sense because the credibility of the solution or product obviously is not with the Sales Rep – it’s with the common customer experiences of customers that look just like the prospect. Just like it should be.
But then something strange happens.
As the sales person becomes more successful, they start to believe they can skip all that “other customer stuff” because after all, they understand it all now. They start to omit the small business statistics, the stories and the testimonials of other small businesses in their pitches. The sales rep begins to launch into monologues about what they themselves know, what they themselves believe and what they themselves recommend.
But the problem is “they themselves” still have comparatively little credibility with a small business prospect and frankly boasting about their time or years selling the product is a poor substitute for sharing what other small businesses are actually doing.
It’s never good to stop leveraging with other like small businesses do. Never. Sure, your credibility and experience counts over time but know your audience (SB’s) – Survey after survey will show “what others do” is a highly influential variable in the sales process with small business.
If you are a sales rep who had a great start last quarter or last year but are starting to tail off or perhaps you coach sales reps that have had a great start but are fading; think hard about why. If there’s scant reference to other successful customers and what they do, then it’s time to pretend you don’t know much about your product and sell like that again.
Till next time,
Grow The Business.