By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sales is a challenging occupation. Over time many sellers must learn how to execute product sales, sell professional services, sell desired business outcomes and manage buying committees. Selling intangible offerings raises the bar.
A very challenging situation is asking buyers to spend money on things that might happen. I suppose for B2C life insurance decisions, major barriers sellers face is that people don’t want to think about dying, nor do they want to pay money for something that would provide benefit many years (hopefully) in the future.
As a B2B example, consider a salesperson calling on a mid-level IT manager at Target the week before the breach. I suspect it would have been a tough climb for many reasons:
- It is likely budget didn’t exist.
- Mid-level managers have operational responsibility and make few strategic decisions.
- The prospect likely would have been defensive about data security.
- The prospect wouldn’t have an enterprise view of the full impact of a breach, but rather the costs of overtime, etc. that IT would incur.
Within days of the breach that same mid-level manager would likely have been barraged by data security sellers and willing to listen to what they had to offer.
When selling what amounts to insurance against things that might happen, it is critical for sellers to gain access to senior executive levels early in the process. Unless organizations are aware of exposures at a high level and understand the full impact they could have, it is unlikely they would fund offerings to mitigate risks. Sellers starting low and hoping to climb the ladder rung by rung can waste a great deal of time with “no decision” looming as the most likely outcome.
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