I mentioned earlier this year that my team and I are working on a large sales fitness training assignment in the finance sector around Australia. These guys are hard up against it when it come to “price” being a key target at the moment. A number of their competitors are trying to buy market share with discounted prices. The market is being hammered with “discounting” of all sorts – some clear, some not so clear, and some very dubious.
Many people have commented “is this the right time to be investing in these people given the state of the market?”. My reply is: “This is exactly the right time to be investing in your sales people.” And here is why.
Despite the doom and gloom and the current “price war” trend, this business and its people are winning good business and good customer relationships. They are really focusing on applying what they have learnt, following a disciplined sales process, focusing on real client issues and needs and delivering real value by way of integrated solutions that are well priced and fair for all.
They have adopted a disciplined sales approach, have clear leadership and a clear, consistent market message (see my blog Leadership, Sales and a Clear Message).
So I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of good news sales coming from the “tough” markets of finance, and show you what can be done if you set your mind to it.
Here are some good news sales stories fresh from the field as of the last two weeks:
Follow a structured sales process
“Having a few wins, did an end-to-end solution presentation yesterday with all that wonderful structure. It went pretty well and the ‘prospect’ was very happy with everything. He was absolutely thrilled that we could satisfy all of his concerns and that I could facilitate every need. I was pretty happy with it, went off track a few times but checked myself and went back to the process.”
“Last week, we were invited by an accountant to meet with a company to discuss their business and finance needs. We were one of several companies invited to present. We were informed after all the initial meetings were held that we were one of only two businesses invited back to talk further. It was stated that we were the only business to really take the time to understand the key priorities of this business and not go into product mode. They said this was refreshing and what the company was looking for in a partner. Outcome: Discussions progressed to next stage.”
“We were approached by a current client with a pricing challenge – the client said he wanted a cheaper price. Instead of dropping the price, we chose to put the ‘price’ to one side and actually focus on what the client really needed. Once we had a thorough understanding of what he needed, we then presented him with three options – a basic, middle tier, and end-to-end solution. We invited feedback from the customer and he ended up taking the end-to-end solution. It was also revealed that security was his key priority, not price as originally stated. Outcome: Signed up to new deal not based on a discounted price.”
Beware the ‘too good to be true deals’
“One of our clients came in with a deal from a competitor. The client said it looked good on the surface but that he didn’t really understand it. Even with all my 30-plus years of experience, I admitted I couldn’t make sense of it either. It looked too good to be true, and upon further investigation it was. I asked the client what he wanted to do. Outcome: Our client tore up the competitor deal and stayed with us.”
What can we learn from them?
Address your customers’ key priorities first and create a solution that helps them achieve their objectives – you can then put “the price” in the right perspective.
Following a structure sales process that keeps you on track helps you stay focused on your customer.
Get any competitor deals in writing before quoting so you can compare apples with apples.
Give your clients choice. Present some options that help them make an informed decision about moving forward.
Have a clear message. Be confident in your offerings. Don’t get spooked.
Be honest, up-front, transparent and ethical in your dealings always.
Sue Barrett is founder and managing director of BARRETT, a boutique consultancy firm. Sue is an experienced consultant, public speaker, coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating high performing people and teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. Click here to find out more
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