Sales Tips: Outdriving Your Headlights

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

My dad was an engineer. After getting my driver’s permit, he cautioned me on driving at night by making me aware that 60 miles per hour equated to 88 feet per second. Taking into account how far away your headlights illuminated objects, reaction time to see them and braking distance it was possible to “outdrive” your headlights. In other words, by the time you saw an object there wasn’t enough time/distance to stop your car.

It has happened a day at a time but in the last 15 years a seller’s job has gotten more complex while their “headlights” haven’t appreciably improved. 

Consider the challenges:

  • Working with buyers that have already researched multiple vendors in a given space.
  • Interfacing with buyers that think they know what they need.
  • No longer being viewed as product experts.
  • Having to call higher to get budgeting as signing limits have decreased.
  • The increasing complexity of offerings as formerly “dumb devices” became/become part of a network within the Internet of Things (IoT).

In 2002, the first CCS® customer was a Canon reseller of printers, copiers and faxes. Their CEO recognized selling standalone devices in commodity price wars was an unsustainable business model. He had the wisdom to add a group of networking consultants to help sellers deliver improved workflow to executives rather than selling a device at a time to IT or Procurement.

He implemented CCS® to give his sellers the skills needed to execute business outcome vs. product sales. The CEO recognized that without sales process, his business plan was analogous to asking sellers to outdrive their selling skills.  

He transformed his business. 

Standalone product sales are becoming less common. Delivering business outcomes to executives today is likely to require selling products, software and services. If you’re a CEO, ask yourself: Am I asking my sales staff to outdrive their selling skills?

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