I can see the appeal of selling the big idea or $20K product. But in a world where we have so many options, it’s hard to come by when you simply build a pipeline and hope for someone to fall into the “Yes” category. That’s an outdated sales process.
When I work with clients on their sales process I try to get them to think about how a new customer feels. If someone doesn’t know you, then you have no trust. If your offering is not familiar or something that they cannot understand quickly, in other words, a commodity, then your sales cycle will be a long painful one.
The biggest issue we all face in the marketplace is building trust. Everyone’s been burned. Noone likes to be sold. People may be kind to you, but if they aren’t buying, then all you have is vague hope.
The First Step
The better strategy is to think about how to start trust. This means thinking of your sales pipeline along a continuum that is more granular. Every business relationship you have is based on some kind of trust. You can see the graph here of how people think of you.
The goal with a complex selling proposition is not to win the sale. It should be to start the relationship. Think about this carefully. How can you get an easy “Yes” and call a new person a customer?
Then, you build on that. Find a way to interact and get aligned in the same direction. If you are both solving a problem together, calling each other, exchanging emails and gaining progress towards a resolution, you deepen the relationship. Trust starts to move. They see you differently.
When we trust someone, it’s less about what they are selling and more about who they are.
Take a look at that graph again. I have customers that are all along that spectrum. Some have low trust with me and are happy with more tactical services like process analysis or technology identification for a specific problem.
Others are further along and start to share more personally about a broader set of issues. We have more of a personal relationship. We do business on more ambiguous and conceptual offerings. Often times, these are not on the menu. They are back room offerings. In other words, “You want more? Come to the back room and I’ll show you what others don’t see.”
You only get to this point with high trust.
But it all starts with thinking through your sales process and front loading your offerings with things that are concrete and easy to say, “Yes,” to. Most people struggle with this and I can understand, especially if you are not wired this way.
But it’s critical. If you don’t think through how to start a relationship with front room offerings, then you are aiming too high all the time. And your revenue and opportunities suffer accordingly.
There’s a way to sell with this front room, back room approach. It takes some design, thought and execution. It may mean retooling how you are approaching sales. Ultimately, you have to focus on revenue and relationships.
If you want some help, feel free to connect with me.
If you find your sales results to date have been suffering, then make the change. You are likely focused on your offering and not how people buy over time. It will get you where you want to go.