By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

sales successWhether read on a website or coming from the lips of a salesperson, buyers are rightfully skeptical about superlatives used to describe a vendor’s offerings. This skepticism seems to be in buyers’ DNA, but in fact is environmental. We’ve all had vendors or salespeople make claims that were hyped or even false. Few buyers would say sellers understate when describing their offerings or results that can be achieved.
There is a relatively straightforward way to remove sellers and vendors from making claims that buyers doubt and/or discount. Most vendors have a significant resource that is under-leveraged: satisfied customers. Once sales are made few sellers monitor the results their buyers are able to achieve. One of the surest ways to minimize a prospect’s skepticism is to have substantiated results that have been achieved through the use of your offerings.

As to why sellers fail to close this loop, the following reasons or excuses come to mind: 

  • Sellers are too busy.

  • Sellers are “onto the next one” after closing sales.

  • Sellers never establish base lines so their ability to measure improvement is limited.

  • Sellers don’t know what metrics to measure.

  • Sellers are afraid that if improvements are not made the account will be in jeopardy.

References lacking specific results often have buyers saying: We love the product, the support we get is tremendous, I don’t know how we’d get along without the product, etc. While all these comments are positive, they don’t provide compelling value to prospective buyers. I also find most Success Stories are at enterprise levels vs. specific titles and business issues.
We interviewed Larry Subday, the CEO of SymQuest, to do a testimonial after becoming the first customer of CustomerCentric Selling® in 2002. Larry was complimentary in his remarks about our methodology and support, but references that contact him are likely to hear the following results SymQuest has achieved:

  • A 32% increase in revenue per salesperson

  • A 12% increase in margins on equipment sales

  • A 20% reduction in salesperson turnover

  • Services are now discounted 15% of the time vs. 50% prior to implementing CCS™

  • A 71% increase in EBIDTA

Key: Agreeing to measure specific metrics with executive titles and then monitoring results (we suggest doing so on a quarterly basis) allows buyers to conclude you are committed to their success, gives you an early “heads up” if results aren’t being achieved and allows you to have prospects talk “peer to peer” so they can get a sense for what results are possible. Beyond that, taking this approach takes the “hype” out of referrals. Prospects often discount results sellers claim are possible. Your customers will have far greater credibility in that they have been there and done that.

sales training success