Ideation Selling – A New Approach to Customer Development

A television commercial recently produced for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee features Al Pacino reprising Coach Tony D’Amato’s pre-game speech from the movie, “Any Given Sunday”. He says, “…the inches we need are everywhere around us – every minute, every second, we fight for that inch…” In sales, it’s an appropriate way to think about the many tactics we use to recruit new customers, especially C-level executives. When it comes to gaining access to decision makers, what really works?

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to consider this question in my personal selling efforts, for my clients, and with some colleagues who have introduced unique thought leadership in this area to the sales discipline. Ideation Selling represents “extra inch” thinking in an industry where many leading sales training and consulting firms offer homogenous approaches to address executive level business development. Here’s some background about how this breakthrough process was conceived. Continue reading “Ideation Selling – A New Approach to Customer Development”

Advertisements

Introducing the 99 Questions Methodology

How to use 99 Questions to solve your “marketing” problem

Senior executives always have unique perspectives about what they think drives successful sales in their business. Perhaps it would surprise you to know that despite the fact their businesses are in totally different industries, with different business models, and different types of sales people, executives usually tell me the same thing:

“I don’t really understand what my sales team is doing to find more business”.

The words aren’t always articulated in exactly that way, but I have come to understand they are talking about attracting and acquiring new customers. In a word, they are concerned about prospecting.

Internet Buyer Behavior

We can all agree that today’s Internet-driven buying process has created new behaviors where buyers assess potential solutions by doing Internet searches, viewing websites, reading social media reviews and comments, and finding analyst evaluations. Buyers no longer allow themselves to be subjected to sales prospecting tactics like cold calling and direct marketing. It’s just more difficult for sales people to attract new customers because they are typically required to use prospecting tactics that buyers find objectionable.

Ironically, the same senior executives who complain about how sales team prospecting doesn’t result in more new customers also don’t believe they need “marketing” to solve this problem. If only the sales team would just cold call more; or we send out more direct mail; or we get more business cards at trade shows; or we just get more leads from our vendor partners – then we would get more customers.

Unfortunately, this mindset doesn’t align with what buyers want, so sales teams that execute in this fashion are rarely successful. If buyers depend on searches, social media, websites, and analysts to decide what they are buying, it seems that whatever messages a firm delivers via media channels at least in part determines whether buyers will be interested in their firm OR NOT. Continue reading “Introducing the 99 Questions Methodology”

How I Became a Top Sales Performer (Part 1)

Lesson 1: Sales is NOT about Selling

I am fortunate to have had a very successful sales career. But, it didn’t start out that way.  First I had to learn the most important lesson in sales:  Sales is NOT about selling.

Wait a minute! What do you mean, “Sales is not about selling”?

It’s not.

What I’ve learned as someone who has trained and managed a lot of sales people is that 99% of the things that you hear about sales when you get into it are simply wrong! Continue reading “How I Became a Top Sales Performer (Part 1)”

How I Became a Top Sales Performer (Part 2)

Sales people that properly organize and plan their sales efforts know how to analyze customer needs, and that results in more closed business!

They’re Not That Into You….

People need a reason to buy from you, and for the most part, you are not the reason they buy!

My experience starting out in sales was that most of the sales people I worked with sold under the assumption that the reason the customer bought the product was because it had great “features and benefits”.   Then one day, my sales manager said something to me I’ll never forget.  At that time I was selling computer equipment to big corporations.  He said, “Terry, a computer is nothing more than a furnace if the customer has no software to run on it!” Read More…

How I Became a Top Sales Performer (Part 3)

Darn it! You actually have to IMPLEMENT a sales process!

Sales Requires A Process

You cannot effectively sell without a process.  

I  no longer use Solution Selling (I went through a few other methods, like Strategic Selling, CustomerCentric Selling, and SPIN Selling) and I have come to the conclusion that selling methods are great for motivating sales people and for educating management about  the benefits of consultative selling techniques.  And then, darnit, you actually have to implement the stuff! Read More…