How Is Your Team Perceived?
Let’s pause for a perception reality check.
Think about the customers you serve and what it’s like to be them for a moment. How busy are they right now? What kind of budgetary pressure are they under? What kind of relationship are they looking for from your team? In short, what do they truly want from your sales professionals?
Now think about every member of your sales team. How well do they provide what customers are looking for? Do prospects and customers perceive them as valuable strategic resources, business experts, or merely vendor reps?
Research shows that people decide if they want to work with a salesperson in 19-34 seconds. The first key fundamental that IMPACT Selling® teaches revolves around how salespeople can make a great first impression.
The Power of Positioning
During the IMPACT Selling® Training we cover the three P’s of the Investigate step: positioning, prospecting, and pre-call planning. Let’s focus on the first one.
The majority of buyers want more than mere access to what your company sells. They are interested in hearing expert opinions, industry insight, and anything that may guide them as they make business decisions. Ideally, they want to work with a genuine professional who can serve as a strategic resource.
There are plenty of things a sales professional can do to position themselves as a strategic resource and trusted advisor. It takes time and effort, but the payoff for the sales professional is worth the investment, especially when done consistently over time.
Free Resource: Positioning Checklist
Have your team use the following checklist across the following six areas to assess how customers view them: from vendor rep to strategic resource. Download the interactive pdf here.
Do your customers’ leadership teams seek you out for meetings and insight, or do you work mostly with lower-level decision-makers?
Discovery & Presentations
Are you asking deep, probing questions in order to add value or a few questions to fill out a quote that follows cookie-cutter presentations?
Have you anticipated customer objections and come prepared with a solution, or does pushback take you by surprise?
Follow Up & Follow Through
Do you go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction throughout the process or just check the standard boxes?
Are you easily identifying and adapting to customer behavior styles, or do you struggle to make quality connections with all the stakeholders in your customers’ organizations?
How professionally present are you on social media? Do you share relevant content on various platforms or only send an occasional email?
Review the results with each team member individually and identify one skill to work on. Once that skill has been improved, work on the next area where improvement is needed until everyone on your team moves from “vendor rep” to “strategic resource”.
Improve Your Positioning as a Team
For a team exercise, break everyone into smaller groups, and create a list of five or six ways you can improve positioning with customers.
Some examples can include sending regular updates to customers, publishing how-to tips on social media, and staying current by subscribing to publications and newsletters and/or setting up alerts on Google or LinkedIn.
Then, have everyone on your team pick one or two strategies to focus on. Have them tell you what tasks they need to accomplish to make progress on that goal, and hold them accountable to take the action.
How a Sales Manager Can Improve Positioning
Focusing on a sales professional’s positioning is important, but did you know that 77% of B2B buyers conduct research on their own before reaching out to a sales rep?
That means three out of four of your prospects get their first impression somewhere else. They could be visiting your website, but they may also be asking their network about you and your company.
This means you not only have to properly position your own interactions with customers in a way to demonstrate your organization can be strategic advisors to their customers, but you must also train your team to do the same thing.
Be intentional about exemplifying behaviors that continue to build trust with your customers, so value is one of the first words they use when asked to give a reference. Your team will learn from your example, so when it’s time for them to make a first impression with a prospect, the impression they make will confirm what the customer is already expecting: this person is here to serve.
Next up in the Key Fundamentals of IMPACT Selling® series: Unlock “Meet”: The 2nd Key Fundamental of IMPACT. Reach out if you’d like to learn more about our IMPACT Selling® Training, where you and your team can learn even more about the right way to investigate customers and prepare for that first meeting.