Four tenets of social behavior also apply to the business world and the sales process.
The Cisco social media blog post “Social Media for Social Good – And, What The Business World Needs to Remember” captures 4 important points when performing social good: Focus on a single, clear goal; Reverse the rules, Tell a good (truthful) story and Design for collaboration. Here’s my take on how these points can be applied during the sales process to drive improved sales productivity, shorten sales cycles, improve forecasting, improve sales performance and increase sales.
Focus on a single, clear goal: Quite often we get wrapped up in all of the products and solutions we can provide to address a client engagement, forgetting about how complex our solution can appear. Focus on solving the problems C-Level executives and decision makers are attempting to address. Take it one step at a time, one problem at a time. Be clear, articulate, and always focus on the clients’ objectives.
Reverse the rules: I would almost call this “role reversal.” Put yourself in your client’s shoes. What are their priorities, concerns and issues? What is the impact on their organization, their clients and partners? Putting yourself in the client’s position and viewing their issues and how your solution addresses their priorities might give you additional, meaningful insight. And, it may help you identify additional questions to ask, contacts to engage or ways to financially justify your solution.
Tell a good(truthful) story: Reference stories or case study’s help to bring the value your company, products, services and solutions to light. They can clearly illustrate the business problem, how you solved it with your solution, the business impact, and the value the client received (lower operational expense, lower operating costs, improved service to clients, greater ability to address changing market dynamics. A reference story provides a connection between the client’s vision (what they want to achieve) and how they can get there.
Design for collaboration: Engage the client and work closely with their staff in identifying their goals and objectives. Work closely with them to understand how addressing (or, not addressing) the problem will affect their business, their clients and their partners. Then creatively explore options working to determine which solution best addresses their objectives.
Remember, just because you have the best, or lowest cost product, doesn’t necessarily guarantee winning the business. Even with a great product, a flawed, poorly executed sales process, can severely impact your chances of winning.