11 Oct How to make your buyer look better
The Sales Confidence Skills Series is a selection of articles based on the talks from our first Sales Confidence live event, staged in September. One of our speakers was Simon Kelly, who has led sales teams at giants such as Vodafone, Microsoft and LinkedIn. Simon identified 4 keys to sales success, and there will be articles on all of them coming up. You can read his thoughts on customer empathy here.
‘Make me look good’
Here’s Simon’s second insight on what makes a successful sales leader.
‘It was a very big deal I was involved in, and this really wise buyer said to me, ‘Simon, I’ve heard all your stuff. It’s all very well, but your job is to make me look good. You’re uniquely placed in the market. You understand every other supplier and what’s happening in the industry. I don’t have time to do that as a buyer. Give me something of value. Give me something I can go to my boss and look good.’
Simon knows that if you can make your buyer gain kudos in his company by buying your service, it’s the key to long-lasting success. So, how do you do this? Here are some ideas.
Be aware of the risks
When you’re talking to a buyer about your service, you are talking to a decision maker. (If you aren’t, stop talking!) However, they may not be the only decision maker. There may be many stakeholders involved in different aspects of the buying process. To recommend your service over somebody else’s, or just sticking with what they already have, requires your buyer to put their neck on the line.
By making a decision to do a deal with you, when it may be easier to keep quiet and do nothing, your buyer is risking their professional credibility inside and outside their company. They’re also risking being stuck with a substandard service, if yours isn’t as good as you say it is. It could even turn out that they’re putting their job on the line.
Be aware of what your buyer is risking when they buy from you. You can’t let them down.
Give them the personal touch
One way to make your buyer look good is to build a strong relationship with them, based on trust. Spend time with them to identify their pain points, their need for your service. After that, come up with a tailor-made solution that genuinely solves their problem. No one wants to buy a cookie-cutter solution that has lots of features, but nothing they actually need.
Educate your buyer
Give your buyer the ammunition to justify their decision to their company. Explain how your service solves their problem. Make sure they understand and agree.
As Simon mentioned, explain how your service affects their place in their industry. Offer insights as to what is working for the other players in their market. Next, prove it. Give them social proof. Hard evidence that your service is helping others, and will help them.
When you’ve done the deal, it’s not the end. Actually, it’s the beginning. Customer service is key to a strong relationship, and a reassurance to the buyer that they’ve made the right decision to buy from you.
Stay in regular contact with your buyer to check everything is working the way it should. Help them to get the most from your service. Make tweaks to your service if necessary.
If anything goes wrong with your service, you can bet your buyer is getting heat from the people above him. Make sure any problems are fixed quickly, with a minimum of fuss.
The cycle of success
Follow these tips and you’ll create a cycle of success. Your buyer will look good in front of their boss, and you’ll look great in front of yours.
Even after many years as a sales leader with some of the world’s biggest companies, it’s something that Simon Kelly always keeps front of mind.
‘Every campaign I’ve been involved with, that’s where I’ve been trying to get to. It’s made a difference.’
Over to you now. What do you do to make your buyers look good? Leave us a comment to let us know.
Become a sales leader at www.salesconfidence.co/blog
About the Author
James Ski works for Linkedin and advises companies on recruitment, employer branding and how to achieve scalable, predictable sales growth.
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You can also follow him on Linkedin or on Twitter @jamesas