PARTNERSHIP-BASED SELLING Advanced Consultative Selling Skills
Program introduction, scope and objectives Teaching sessions: Session 1 – In the Shoes of the Client Session 2 – Building a Relationship Session 3 – Lead Strategy Session 4 – Putting the Pieces Together Session 5 – Follow Up ‘Partnership based’ selling is a continuation of consultative selling skills
Overall program scope and objectives • Our overall goal is to have clients see us more as partners in solving their problems, rather than as vendors to support a transaction • If we succeed, then by the end of the program you will have: • Discussed the nature of partnership-based relationships with clients • Practiced the essential skills of building a close business relationship with clients • Developed a framework for testing and clarifying clients’ business problems and opportunities • Practiced putting these skills into practice in ‘live’ simulated client interactions • Developed an action plan for putting the new skills into practice
Our areas of focus for this class Develop Strategy and Initiatives Determine Needs and Requirements Resolve Issues and Finalize Contracts Negotiate Price and Terms Evaluate Options Select Solution CLIENT BUYING PROCESS STAGE 1 Identify Opportunity STAGE 2 Qualify Opportunity STAGE 6 Close Deal STAGE 5 Negotiate Contract STAGE 3 Develop Opportunity STAGE 4 Develop Proposal IMS SALES PROCESS • We will focus our attention at stages 1 and 2 … • … although we will also touch on aspects of stages 3 and 4
We already know that the biggest opportunity is in the early stages HIGHEST OPPORTUNITY AREA: Drive more intensity in stages 1-3, particularly around client needs and qualification STAGE 1 Identify Opportunity STAGE 3 Develop Opportunity STAGE 2 Qualify Opportunity MOVING FROM… TO • Bigger, more aspirational opportunities for collaboration and coaching • Stage reporting from stages 2+ • Many opportunities missing • Unhelpful inspection, stigma for failure to progress
We are focusing on two of the three criteria for the ‘qualification’ stage in the IMS sales process Compelling Event: The deadline or timeframe in which the customer must make a decision. Consequences the customer will suffer if a decision is not made (e.g. lost revenue, loss of market share or inability to compete). Unique Business Value: The tangible or intangible value you can provide the customer. It must be defined in the customer’s terms and differentiate you from the competition. Stage 2+ Opportunity Budget Available: The budget that has been formally established for a specific project or the broad budget established across multiple projects. Clearly defined and owned in the organization.
We plan to achieve these objectives over the next 2 days by learning and practicing partnership skills
First, let’s get acquainted Please tell us … Your name One thing that you’d like to get out of the class If you could have one super power that could help you sell, what would you want it be?
Exercise: What is a Trusted Advisor? • Work with the people at your table to discuss what is a trusted advisor • What are the characteristics and activities associated with a trusted advisor? • What are the benefits to you and your clients in having a trusted advisor relationship? • Be prepared to have someone present your group’s ideas to the class
Group experience: Tell us what has stopped you from having a ‘relationship’ with your clients and kept you focused on ‘transactions’ What can be done to overcome the barrier?
There are dangers in rushing too quickly to solutions When asked what he sees as the most pervasive problem in the field of complex sales, author Neil Rackham replied: “Perhaps the most pervasive one is also the hardest to correct. I’d call it ‘premature solutions.’ Most salespeople understand that their role in complex sales is to use products and services to solve customer problems. Many of them mistakenly believe that the sooner they can begin solving the problem, the more effective they will be. Our earliest research showed that top salespeople didn’t focus on solutions until very late in the sale. Less successful salespeople couldn’t wait to begin showing how their products and services could solve a customer problem. So most salespeople don’t spend enough time listening and questioning. The moment they think they have the answer, they jump straight to talking about their solution. As a result they don’t do a good enough job of understanding issues from the customer point of view. And if customers don’t feel that they are listened to and understood, there’s an inevitable loss of trust.” Neil Rackham (founder and strategic advisor, Huthwaite, and author, Spin Selling, Major Account Sales Strategy, and Rethinking the Sales Force), as told to Charles H. Green
SESSION 1 – IN THE SHOES OF THE CLIENT • Transactions and Relationships • It’s About Them! • What Does it Take to be Trusted
Building trusted relationships is the answer to many of our most pressing questions Maister, David H.; Green, Charles H.; Robert M. Galford (2001). The Trusted Advisor How can I get access to my clients more often? How can I persuade my client to introduce me to others in their organization? How can I cross-sell? How can I avoid being typecast, labeled as a specialist only in my main discipline? What do I do about not being an expert in related fields? How do I get clients less focused on price? How do I get clients to play fairly with me?
Let’s review David Maister’s comparison of relationships vs. transactions Transactions Relationships On the same side Long-term benefit Trust Give & be helpful Make a commitment Be comfortable with ambiguity Adapt & be flexible Relaxed, comfortable • Opponents • Short-term benefit • Suspicion • Negotiate & bargain • Keep your options open • Write a contract • Prepare & rehearse • Defensive, protective • Goal is to look attractive • Goal is to understand them • It’s about US • It’s about THEM!
The message of this class is …. • It’s about THEM! • Or, to quote a famous author: • “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” • Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1938)
In Voice of the Customer surveys, clients consistently ask for greater alignment to their needs “IMS has the potential to understand OUR business better than anyone” “IMS should approach a client with a blank sheet and want to understand its business” “IMS should let client drive what is needed – not what IMS wants to push” “Need to have an approach of “How can I fix your problem”” “Should be genuinely/passionate/honest about the desire to be on client agenda” “Understand client needs and match services to them” “IMS has to listen to customers and understand customer needs” “Do not TRULY listen to clients”
Exercise - Client Perspective Process IMS is planning to commission a new expenses management system to replace CONCUR The investment is going to be large – around $1million Imagine that you personally will be responsible for making the decision: Objective • To learn about a client’s perspective, by putting ourselves in their position • Group 2: • What are IMS’s priorities and needs? • What is going to be critical about the outcome of the new expenses system? • What is going to be critical about the process of the implementation? • Group 1: • What are the criteria for vendor selection? • What would we need to know about their qualifications? • What experience have we had in the past with external advisors / vendors? • How could we be confident that they will do a good job?
What did we learn from this exercise? As customers in this case … How do we see technical competence compared with trust and reliability? Which of our expectations are ‘concrete’ and which are not? .… How would we like to feel at the moment we start drafting the contract? …. How would we know if any of the potential vendors was acting as a partner towards us?
So, what do we do that stops us from behaving like partners with our clients?
SESSION 2 – BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP • The Rules of Romance • Asking Questions • Testing a Point of View – With a Client
Being trusted by clients needs us to demonstrate four things Trust Credibility Reliability Intimacy + + = Self-Orientation
Build Trust with your clients through actions that drive credibility, reliability, intimacy and show client orientation Credibility Reliability Intimacy + + • Go first • Illustrate, not tell • Listen for what’s different • Say what I mean • Ask for help, when I need it • Show an interest in the person • Use compliments, not flattery • Show appreciation Trust Client Self-Orientation • Be sure my advice is being sought • Earn the right to offer advice • Keep asking
The ‘Keep Asking’ rule is hard for us sometimes, so we will focus on useful questions that build trust: Questions to build rapport and trust Questions to explore challenges and problems Questions to define root issue and benefits of doing things better Questions to imagine all of the different kinds of future success Questions to uncover obstacles and bring people on board David Maister introduces us to a five stage trust building process, which will guide us through all of the modules in this program: • Engage… • Listen… • Frame… • Envision… • Commit…
The ‘Keep Asking’ rule is hard for us sometimes, so we will use questions that will always help build trust: “I hear X may be an issue for you. Is that right?” “That’s interesting. Tell me more: What’s behind that?” “It sounds like what you may have here is a case of Y – do you agree?” “How will things look three years from now if we fix this?” “What if we were to do Z?” The questions may sound like this: • Engage… • Listen… • Frame… • Envision… • Commit…
We are going to build up our understanding of the context, structure and impact of the client’s problem Structure Context Critical success factors Current Situation Triggering event Overarching question Impact Benefits of reaching new situation Desired future situation
For our early meetings with the client, we also need something to take with us, so we can ‘go first’: What could we take into a client meeting that would be useful to the client? What set of questions could we ask a client to show interest and client-orientation? What could we take into a client meeting that would be low costfor IMS? If we’re going to take something written or prepared, what should be its subject? How can we demonstrate our capability without asserting it?
A framework for suggesting, testing & agreeing the context of a problem that is important to the client Context Current Situation Triggering event Overarching question Desired future situation
Time for a group exercise – Point of View Process Break into your groups and use the breakout rooms Objective • To prepare a ‘point of view’ – context for a typical client problem • In your groups, develop a Point Of View on your assigned theme (Current Situation / Trigger / Future Situation / Overarching Question) • Write it down on a flipchart • Prepare for a role-play meeting with a client who has already seen your Point of View
Preparing for the role play: Remember… LISTEN • This is your objective • Your preparation should consist of planning questions that will get the client talking and establish trust ACTIVELY LISTEN • Apply the principles SAY ONLY ONE THING ABOUT IMS • This should be a capability or track record statement directly related to your Point Of View • For example “For another client, who was in situation XXX, we did YYY. The benefit of doing that was ZZZ. As a result, we learned that AAAAA” DETERMINE what are you going to ask for, or suggest, at the close of the meeting?
These elements can inform your Call Plan Questions about current & desired situation Information about current and desired situation
Build up a picture of the context and impact for a real client problem you are working on Context Current Situation Triggering event Overarching question Impact Benefits of reaching new situation Desired future situation
When coupled with your Opportunity Plan, this framework should allow you to strategise where to go next with this lead
SESSION 3 – LEAD STRATEGY • Buyers • Benefits • Hot Buttons • Opportunity Review
Now that we have had a successful meeting with one person, the process is going to continue We will have to meet other people – how can we navigate among the different client contacts (buyers) and diagnose their different roles? How can we interpret and use what we learn about their aims and desires? What can we do to reconcile the differences across multiple buyers? How can we keep the conversation going so that we are still asking useful and purposeful questions about them?
Buyers differ in their perception of the context … Structure Context Critical success factors Current Situation Triggering event Overarching question Impact Benefits of reaching new situation Desired future situation
… and buyers also differ in their perception of the expected benefits Structure Context Critical success factors Current Situation Triggering event Overarching question Impact Benefits of reaching new situation Desired future situation
We can capture information on the identity and orientation of our buyers on the opportunity plan • Including the details of our specific buyers … • … and the level of support they can offer, and the access we have to them
The decision to work with IMS is usually made by multiple buyer roles Influencers User Key Decision Maker Technical Budget Holder Buyers Coach Ratifier
Buyer: Budget Holder (or delegated to Key Decision Maker) Adapted from: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
Influencer - User Adapted from: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
Influencer - Technical Adapted from: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
Influencer - Coach Adapted from: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
Influencer - Ratifier Adapted from: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
Budget Holder Good budget fit ROI/Profitability Increased productivity Better cash flow Flexibility Influencer - Technical Meets specs best Timely delivery Best technical solution Reliability Price, discounts Influencer - User Increased efficiency Upgraded skills Fulfilled performance Better, faster, easier Versatility Ease of learning/use Influencer - Coach Recognition Visibility Strokes Seen as contributor/ problem solver Potential benefits are associated with each buyer type Source: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
Definition Hot Buttons: Desires or concerns that a client has that must be addressed during our sales process or our service delivery. May sometimes be a word or issue that ignites anger, fear, enthusiasm, or other passionate responses. Can be task related or personal About Hot Buttons Hot buttons usually have emotional content Delivering on hot buttons will ensure you deliver value to the engagement Knowing your client’s hot buttons will ensure greater success if considered and addressed Examples of Hot Buttons: Thorough; Urgency: Quality; Control; Creativity; Fear of Change; Objectivity; Evidence etc. Hot Buttons
Productivity Increase personal productivity Achieve more control Personal Values Increase self-esteem Get more leisure, have more time at home Have more flexibility Get more freedom Professional/Job Security Remain in/increase power Feel more secure/safe Reputation Be seen as a problem solver Be seen as a leader Improve social status Be an instrument of change Pay a debt Professional Competence Increase skills Improve job potential Increase responsibility and authority Put in a quality performance Offer uniqueness Addressing buyer hot buttons can result in many different kinds of benefits Adapted from: Miller, Heiman & Tuleja The New Strategic Selling
The 40–minute Opportunity Review • The Process • A ‘Live’ Opportunity Review
Running an Opportunity Review – learn what you don’t know, and do something about it • What we knowcan help us win • What we don’t knowcan make us lose • We will improve our chance of winning if we: • Learn what we don’t know • Strategize potential actions to leverage our strengths/offset our weaknesses • Act upon those strategic options
Pursuit team’s objectives in running an opportunity review: Identify 30 to 40+ potential actions to consider which may, if utilized, improve the probability of winning the work Actions may be new (for consideration) or previously identified (which may provide confirmation of inclusion) Identify ways to better leverage strengths Identify potential weaknesses or problematic areas The objective is to quickly create a platform for the pursuit team to build on and refine their proposal Do this quickly!