Today, I’ll be talking about current events. I’m wondering if you’ve heard the news because if you have, you’ve heard an awful lot about inflation, price increases, supply chain disruption, the baby formula shortage, and there’s geopolitical unrest. Clearly the war in Ukraine continues to go on.
In fact, in a recent McKinsey article, this time last year, 83% of global executives had a positive outlook on the economy. That same study this year shows only 43% of the senior level executives have a positive outlook. The number one reason for that is the geopolitical unrest followed by the things I just mentioned. Why do I mention that? It continues to be this malaise that we’re working through, and I believe the way companies are going to be successful is they are going to sell their way through it. It’s going to be very intentional effort with a lot of focus on driving top line revenue.
There are some critical things that companies and sales leaders can be doing right now to position their sales team for success on the back half of this year. I had a recent discussion with one of our clients and he used our own vernacular, “now is the time to train sellers on the Meet and Probe steps,” which are two of our six steps. Really what he was saying is, in the Meet step, which is the initial interaction with clients or potential clients, it’s really critical to have a very good first meeting. There’s a lot of preparation and intentionality around what that meeting is all about. The Probe step is where you are working towards a needs analysis. So, if the Meet step goes well, it gives you the right in the Probe step to ask good questions as you build rapport.
So, I mentioned the news. Let’s talk about five ways that the current events are driving behavior or things our sales teams need to be doing moving forward to be successful.
- First, is to approach in neutral. We’ve all heard the bad news. The big A-HA is so have your buyers. They’re operating under that same environment. So, they are hearing about all these same sorts of things and maybe changed their buying criteria. They may need to preserve cash; they may have excess inventory; they may have situations that you don’t expect. So, we need to approach them with a neutral bias.
- Secondly, I think we need to display a sincere interest. Let’s really understand what’s going on, be genuinely interested in their success, and work to understand their real problems.
- Third, we need to gain a mutual rapport. When I talk about the Meet and Probe steps, that’s really what we’re after. Let’s gain a mutual rapport where I respect you, you respect me. How do we do that? Well, one easy way is to share information. It’s not all one-way communication, but let’s share information back and forth.
- Fourth is to gain mutual respect. I talked about rapport. We also need to have respect in there and we need to really honor each other as human beings and to work to be of service to clients.
- The fifth thing is, we’re doing all those first four to gain a true needs analysis. The needs of our clients may have dramatically changed over the last two years. What we took for granted pre-COVID may not have any application now. So as sellers and sales leaders, we need to make sure our team is armed with these sorts of tools, thoughts, and mindset.
The last thing I want to talk about, which goes back into the idea of building rapport, is companies need to ensure that their salespeople have contacts all the way up the chain. Again, this client mentioned that the thing he’s doing as a sales leader is ensuring that all of his salespeople have the cell phone number of the owner, the CEO, or the president of the companies they do business with. I thought that was an interesting directive that he issued and a great way to really understand the strength of the relationship you have with a client.
I hope these things make sense. I realize that the way we’re going to grow through this and companies are going to survive is they are going to sell their way through. I would be happy to share information around our IMPACT Selling® method, more information around the Meet and Probe steps, and I actually think that our book, Agile and Resilient: Sales Leadership for the New Normal is a great tool. So, if you would like a copy of that let me know.
Always good to be with you. I appreciate you watching. I’m happy to discuss or debate. Send an e-mail to email@example.com.