Sales Leaders, Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
by Ton Verleg
This is a special blog post for Sales Leaders.
“Change is an exciting thing”.
It can bring growth, valuable experiences, creativity and positive outcomes.
“Change is also difficult”.
It requires a person to step into the unknown and let go of familiarity; Making mistakes and uncertainty makes people uncomfortable.
GUESS WHICH ONE YOUR SALES FRONT LINE IS DEALING WITH RIGHT NOW?
Believe me. They need your help. If you expect the new way of selling to turn into more contracts, shipments and revenue, it is time to step up, roll up your sleeves and step on this sales transformation bus yourself.
Transformation requires leadership
Your Salesforce has been trained on why they must transform into Trusted Advisors. They do their utmost best to Sell with the Buyer’s Perspective. But what is the reality? It is not that simple. If it was, others would already be doing it. And they don’t.
You are pioneering. It’s back to 1969 when we heard Neil Armstrong saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”. Well, history repeats itself. This time on the sales front. Transformation requires leadership. Armstrong wouldn’t have made that famous step without the incredible Apollo 11 mission control leadership.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Real change always requires taking actions outside your comfort zone and giving up comfort. This counts for front-line sales executives but also for Sales Leaders. If you don’t, you cannot recognize what works and what does not. You don’t want to be the General on his high horse, never to be seen at the real battle. Unfortunately, these types acquire the lowest credibility and the most rumours, particularly at changing times. To help your sales soldiers, you must lead from the front, learn from mistakes, and strategize with your teams on the next improvement steps.
Does that mean that sales directors and managers become the super closers? No, but you need your own Selling with the Buyer’s Perspective experience to help others. Otherwise, you coach on something you think is good, but it is actually wrong and not supporting the transformation.
Understand. Motivate. Do.
What practical actions can you take tomorrow? I recommend dividing your efforts into three categories: Understand, Motivate, and Do:
- Understand the reasons why we need to Sell with the Buyer’s Perspective. Motivating others always starts with explaining why a change is required. Why doesn’t the old way of selling work any longer? Can you? There is enough reference material on thesalesadvice.com
- Understand what needs to be discussed at each customer’s buying phase stages. For example, what does the customer need to discover in Why Change? and in Change to What? E.g. What does discussing solution criteria mean? How does that help the customer with their buying tasks?
- Understand the skills to sell with the Buyer’s perspective really well. E.g. Do you know how to overcome Hidden Competitors? Do you know what type of conversation interests the customer in Why Change?
- Motivate your salesforce on a regular basis to step out of their comfort zone. Be creative, Eg. start a podcast, share big wins of the week, and alert front liners to new insightful articles they can share with their customers.
- Motivate Sales Managers to step up and help you with the sales transformation. Give some stretch assignments. You need Change Champions in every Sales Channel.
- Create Selling with the Buyer’s Perspective Leaderboards. Categorize winning leagues like Best Improved, Most insightful, Biggest Win etc. Salespeople love short inventive programs.
- Show you walk the talk. Use Selling with the Buyer’s perspective language in RFQ reviews.
- In Opportunity-coaching, challenge your sales execs to verbalise why their customer or prospect needs to change. Why isn’t their current supplier good enough? What ideas have they inspired their customer with? What risks of not changing have they discussed with the bigger Buying Room?
- Go out on the road with your field salespeople and be present on the indoor sales floor. Coach, coach, and coach. On the way to customers or before picking up the phone, go through their Call Preparation. Does their plan of how they would like the meeting to go make sense? Help.
- Co-Sell with your salespeople on big opportunities. Help them with strategizing. Help with opening doors and demonstrate you can sell with the Buyer’s Perspective.
Do you know who Gene Kranz was? He was the NASA mission control team leader at the first lunar landing. Get out of your comfort zone. Be a Gene.Tags: Ton Verleg