It's a big moment in Beers with Max history: we have finally achieved six-pack level! In episode number 6 we are addressing the fundamental shift in the world of sales by discussing what it takes to become an indispensable partner in our clients' success.
If six-pack level wasn't enough excitement for one episode, we've also got a special guest in store for you. Steve Lishanksy is a highly-acclaimed sales trainer, founder of the Institute for Sales Innovation, and author of the best-selling book The Ultimate Sales Revolution. In this Q&A-style episode I ask Steve about today's world of sales and how to really identify what clients are looking for. Hit the jump and bring an umbrella, because it's about to rain pearls of wisdom.
Steve's Universal Driving Force of Sales (10:21)
This point encapsulates Steve's entire theory of sales and how to excel at it. It doesn't matter how respected you are, how trustworthy you are, or how much the prospect likes you - these are all important, but the number one thing that drives sales in every field is the value you create in your relationships with customers and prospects.
Think about it: any time someone asks you for something, whether you sell marketing automation, content services, or graphic design, they have an underlying need. A company who wants marketing automation is really looking for more leads, which in turn will drive revenue. An agency seeking graphic design services is really looking to make their branding more consistent so they can do a better job grabbing the attention of prospects.
The bottom line in every sales relationship is this: the value you add for your clients as a sales rep is defined by that client's goals, and the more value you add in the context of those goals, the more indispensable you become to your clients.
The Doctor Analogy: Don't Focus on What Prospects Don't Know (13:28)
When you are choosing a doctor or healthcare provider, do you try to find one who uses the best radiology equipment? Do you only visit practices run by graduates of Ivy League schools? Do you just pick the one with the best waiting room furniture? (Trick question: all healthcare waiting room furniture is terrible).
Of course not! You choose your doctor based on who can get you the results you need. You don't know the inner workings of the equipment they use, or the nitty-gritty details about how they analyze your muscle tissue. You have one concern and one alone: which doctor can make me feel better?
Your clients and prospects are the same way - they don't understand the technical side of your business, and they can't really differentiate you from your competitors. How they CAN (and will) judge and hold you accountable is through the results you do or don't provide for them. Don't try to win business by proving how experienced you are or how sophisticated your tools are: instead, get the client to identify their ultimate goal, then get them to buy in to your ability to assist them in achieving that goal.
How Content Helps Salespeople Create Context and Understanding (15:35)
Marc McNamara of The Value Shift chimes in with a great point about sales content and how it should be enabling today's sales reps. Content should not be focused on the company's offering and its benefits, or even the sales process: it needs to be driven by real situations and obstacles that prospective clients will face.
To create this type of highly-relevant content, you need to dig deep into your buyer persona and understand them and their goals. When you are successful in creating this type of content, it serves as a springboard to propel you into an olympic pool of trust and respectability with clients and prospects - and that's definitely a dive you want to take.
Revisiting the Doctor Analogy (31:25)
Rob Bailey shares an analogy he applies to conversations with prospects: if you are a doctor and can't ask your patient some questions to understand what an appropriate diagnosis is, there's no way you can help them.
Steve adds a good point to Rob's analogy: as a sales rep, you don't want to be focused solely on diagnosing the prospect. Instead, you need to focus on the problem: why is the patient in your office in the first place? What's their ultimate goal? Don't ask questions solely to diagnose them with a problem: ask questions to engage them to find out what's valuable for them.
That's all for this installment! Hope you enjoyed the lesson, and as always, please share your feedback with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to sip some brews and talk sales and marketing, hit the button below to sign up for the next session of Beers with Max.
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