“I’ve spent most of the last three decades focused on how to help salespeople sell better through sales process and methodologies. Trends based on research indicate that we are still struggling to move the needle of key metrics (win rates, forecast accuracy, % of reps meeting quota, etc.).
In the past few years, I have realized that while sales methodologies are important because, if you don’t have one you will have chaos – everyone will be speaking a different language. Most planning methodologies will work as long as you are consistently using them. The missing link is in the execution of the sales plan; specifically making emotional connections with the key stakeholders in your customer. And, you won’t make these connections with them if all you are doing is asking questions focused on their logical product and technology needs. How much time do you spend pitching your products versus connecting with your customer?
A few years ago, I started having conversations with John Geraci (a longtime friend and colleague) about an area of interest that we shared – the “brain science” of decision-making; also known as behavioral economics. I had become passionate about studying this subject. It sheds so much light on why most decision-making processes end up being political, emotional messes. Are we surprised that many sales opportunities end in no-decision? It’s just the way the brain works!
So, knowing that is good, but how do you influence the customer? The best way I have seen is through telling stories with empathy and emotion. In the process, you are being vulnerable and transparent, and you are inviting the customer to do the same. I think people are hungry for this real connection.
The way to truly differentiate ourselves and execute a winning sales plan is to make those deep connections with the key stakeholders in our customers. The reaction of our customers when we do this is amazing! They will feel “You get me. You understand my story.”