Some know about ‘it’. Some talk about ‘it’. Some even try to practice ‘it’, although in my experience, mostly without enthusiasm or expertise. ‘it’ is extremely instrumental in sales success and ‘it’ is not used to any effect by the vast majority of salespeople.
So, what exactly is ‘it’?
Well, it could be called a theory, a philosophy, a technique or even an attitude. Whatever we call it however, it’s a vital element of any sales procedure and the difference between mediocrity and real success!
Accurately defined, ‘it’ is a concentrated focus on client/customer needs at the point of sale and most often simplified in description as ‘Client Centric Selling’.
Now, before we pigeon-hole it as some kind of ‘fad’ or something like, client centric selling is a real methodology that produces ‘win-win’ results and massive benefits. Indeed, it is so powerful, it should be the foundation strategy for any salesperson that wishes to maximise success for themselves and the business they represent.
Of course, success is relative! A good many salespeople believe money and income are the only measures of success and give precious little, if any, consideration to the actual needs of their clients. Needless to say, winning any kind of client centric argument with this type of salesperson is challenging, to say the least!
I read an article recently that spoke of the virtues of client centric selling but then went on to describe it as somewhat idealistic and impracticable. This, not unusual approach, considers there is somehow a direct competition between the client’s needs and the salesperson’s, that where one gains, the other loses? That the sales process is some kind of battle between the client and salesperson and should be designed to override the client’s beliefs, overcome all his objections and “close him” and “make him buy”– really?
A Novel Thought?
If that sounds farfetched, you will find these principles expounded in sales training courses in companies all over the world! Indeed, the majority of sales training focuses on overcoming objections and the use of closing skills and pays precious little attention on uncovering and understanding the client’s real needs in order to design and present the ideal solution, one the client actually wants. Now there’s a novel thought!
The article went on to say that there is no way that salespeople can be convinced to be client centric and that “selling has always been this way, and always will be”. (I am a little guilty of paraphrasing here, but this is the undoubted essence of the summary of the article).
Well thankfully, this is not true. All that is needed to turn bad sales into good sales is an understanding of the real value of client centric selling and the massive benefits that exist in its practice, for both salespeople and their companies.
How about these 5 for salespeople:
- Superior client acquisition levels
- Significantly higher value sales
- Reduced point-of-sale stress.
- Extremely high-quality enquiry flows
- Supremely high referral levels.
And these for companies:
- Substantially reduced marketing spends.
- Seriously improved sales team retention.
- High level client satisfaction – low level complaints.
- Highly improved business stability.
- Significantly better bottom line profits.
Surely, all benefits worth the effort of acquisition? So just what prevents salespeople, managers and companies from capitalising on such valuable benefits?
A Vital Focus – Success Guaranteed!
The answers to this mystery lay mostly in attitudes and habits. In this, there is some truth in the summary of the aforementioned article, “selling has always been this way, and always will be”! However, “always will be” is wholly a matter of choice – those salespeople and companies that want to, can make the effort, and by doing so will reap the rewards.
Both companies and salespeople concentrate on their need for income and profits. Misguided and misplaced pressure, motivation and incentives are used to create results that reflect success in the drive for these income and profits, overriding any focus on client’s satisfaction and wellbeing. Ironically however, it is precisely this concentration and drive that creates the biggest barriers to obtain it.
Of course, the drive for success is a vital commodity. The drive however, must have the right focus – achieving client satisfaction. By that, I mean genuine, exceptional, extraordinary client satisfaction. Nothing less.
Achieve this and income and profits happen automatically and grow exponentially – it’s guaranteed!
Will Offen is a writer and international speaker. As an Interim Sales Leader, he helps companies worldwide expand, improve and repair their sales businesses.
He is available for short to medium term projects worldwide, for sales development training, opening new sales departments/offices and trouble-shooting to fix underperformance.
He is the creator of “Clients for Life’, available as a book, an on-line course and an in-company workshop. His group, ‘Masters of Communication’, designed to help everyone Harness the Powers of Communication, is open by application and can be found on Face Book.