July 08, 2009

The Complex Sale: Is there a conscensus among your team about what it requires?

The complex sale is exactly that - complex. End of article, next please. Only kidding of course.

While the issue seems obvious, we meet salespeople everyday whose actions suggest it is not so.  They following all the hallmarks of the stereo typical salesperson approaching the complex sale as if it they were selling office stationery, or double glazing.


So, we thought we would remind ourselves and all those reading of what exactly a complex sale is and the implications for the way we as sales professionals approch our job.

1. It’s about helping, not selling. Nobody wants to be sold to, but people always welcome help in solving their problems, or identifying how best to meet their needs.

2. It’s about solving problems, or exploiting opportunities, not selling products, or services. The customer is not buying products or solutions, nor is he buying just because he/she likes the company or the salesperson. He/she is buying to solve a problem, or exploit an opportunity within his business. The more the salesperson can help him/her do this the better.

3. It’s about listening, not talking. Forgetting this is the most common mistake made by salespeople. They don’t shut up long enough for the customer to tell them how they can be helped and convinced to buy the salesperson’s product, or service.

4. It’s about confidence on the part of the customer, not the salesperson. The stereotypical salesperson is super-confident, however the super salesperson focuses on building the customer’s confidence that his/her company will best meet their needs.

5. It’s about expertise, not salesmanship. That means the customer regards you as an expert, advisor, or specialist, not just a salesperson. It means you can expertly advise potential customers, from a position of knowledge regarding your products and services, as well as their business and industry.

6. It’s about benefits, not features. Despite long lists of features, brochures, ads and sales presentations often lack a compelling sales proposition, that:
appeals on a rational, emotional and political level
is tailored to decision makers/influencers within the target segment,
is distinct from competitors
supported by evidence
presents a clear cost justification.

7. It’s about a process, not just a person. There is too much emphasis on the sales person and not enough on the sales process to match the company’s solution to the buyer’s needs and buying processes. That is a clear, logical and repeatable set of steps that correspond to how customers buy and involve many people in the sales organisation.

8. It is about helping the buyer to solve a problem, not closing a sale. If you do the former well, the latter almost takes care of itself. Most closing techniques that are more likely to close the door on a sale, than to close the sale itself. Regardless of how pressing an organisation’s sales targets may be, most buyers shut down, or at least slow down, at the hint of pushiness, or manipulation on the part of an overly eager sales person.


10. It’s about preparation and planning. Time in front of the customer is precious, so great sales people maximise its effectiveness through extensive pre-call; research, planning and preparation. See ‘Pre-call Preparation to Maximise Sales Success’.


11. It’s about fewer slides. Great sales people don’t make their customers endure long presentations, or power point presentations. And if they are required to give a presentation, they use fewer slides than most and listen as much, if not more, than they talk.

12. It’s about opportunities not objections. Great sales people welcome purchase objections from buyers. They recognise them as opportunities to better understand customer requirements and demonstrate how their solutions can meet them. They deal with them up front and have prepared for and rehearsed how best to answer.


13. It’s about enthusiasm! Enthusiasm is a rare, but priceless quality among salespeople. It is infectious, but cannot be easily mimicked. A sales person has got to believe in the product/service and company he/she is selling.


14. It’s about keeping in touch. The one meeting sale is an illusion, indeed most people that you will call on may not yet realise they have a problem, or need your solution. By maintaining ongoing contact (sending a useful article you reas, a white paper, passing on an introduction, etc.)


15. It is about long sales cycles anything from 3 to 6 to 14 months and more. It involves complex buying processes and large buying groups (that is 4-6 people involved in one way or another in the buying decision. It requires building relationships, credibility and trust, not just demonstrating competitive advantage.

1 comment:

Lionel Messi said...

Gooooooooooooooood
Thank you
The subject of more than wonderful