Strategies for Looking Past Your Products--to Uncover What Your Buyers Want

The most difficult task in selling--and the number one key to success--is to get inside the head of your buyer. CustomerCentric Selling presents a dynamic process for first understanding and shaping your buyers' concerns, then helping those same buyers visualize using your offering to achieve goals, solve problems, or satisfy needs.

Renowned sales leaders Michael ...

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CustomerCentric Selling

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Strategies for Looking Past Your Products--to Uncover What Your Buyers Want

The most difficult task in selling--and the number one key to success--is to get inside the head of your buyer. CustomerCentric Selling presents a dynamic process for first understanding and shaping your buyers' concerns, then helping those same buyers visualize using your offering to achieve goals, solve problems, or satisfy needs.

Renowned sales leaders Michael Bosworth--author of the blockbuster bestseller Solution Selling--and John Holland outline an easy-to-follow, commonsense, and proven-successful approach to selling, one that is based on:

  • Engaging in directed conversations instead of making presentations
  • Asking relevant questions instead of offering personal opinions
  • Targeting decision makers instead of product users

Bosworth and Holland combine nearly three decades of experience in sales process and training. Hundreds of lessons they learned along the way are incorporated into their CustomerCentric Sales approach--an approach proven to work for sales professionals at every level, regardless of industry or product line. Let CustomerCentric Selling show you how to make this revolutionary process work for you, and start you on the path to achieving long-term sales success by first forming partnerships with your buyers--based not on selling what you have but on providing what they need.

"Customercentric behavior has seven basic tenets. These are explained in sequence in the first chapter. As you read these descriptions, we invite you to imagine a spectrum of selling behavior--ranging from traditional on one end to customercentric on the other--and to locate yourself on that spectrum. Are you where you want to be, to be as successful as you can be?

"If not, what needs to change?"

--From Chapter 1

You're probably a successful salesperson, sales manager, sales executive, or CEO. You may even be one of the best.

CustomerCentric Selling can help you to be even better.

Better in that you will stop thinking in terms of your products and their features, and start thinking in terms of your buyers and their goals, problems, and needs. Better in that you will stop forcing products on buyers, and instead start allowing them to convince themselves of their need for your offerings. Better in that you will stop giving long-winded, opinion-laden speeches to lower-level "buyers", and instead begin to have no-nonsense, results-oriented business conversations with decision makers.

Better at virtually every stage of your approach.

Whether you are new to sales or a CEO, the market-proven methods outlined in CustomerCentric Selling will show you how to:

Move beyond impersonal presentations to engage in situation-specific, one-to-one conversations with key decision makers

  • Consistently use sales-ready messaging to ensure your approach is both meaningful and on target
  • Move buyers from focusing on what your product can do for them to focusing on what they can do with your product
  • Convert your product's features into four-step, targeted usage scenarios that drive right to the heart of your buyer's needs
  • Transform the sell cycle from a realm of mystery to a rational, orderly, and cooperative process with individual buyers and even committees

CustomerCentric Selling will show you how to transform each sales call from an annoying, artificial one-way speech into a productive, genuine two-way conversation. It will help you understand and shape your customers' needs, and then--and only then--reveal to your customer how your offering will fulfill those needs in the most cost-effective, meaningful, and customercentric manner possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Even if you are the best salesperson in your company, you could be even better. Forget everything you think you know about selling products to buyers - the rules are changing, and it's about time.

In CustomerCentric Selling, sales experts Michael T. Bosworth and John R. Holland lay out a new approach to sales, one in which salespeople stop forcing products on buyers and start listening to their goals, problems and needs. Stop giving your "expert" opinion on why a buyer should snap up your products, and start engaging decision makers in business conversations that yield results. CustomerCentric Selling will help you stop working inefficiently, and start moving toward better, longer, more mutually beneficial relationships with your customers.

Customer-centric behavior has the following seven basic tenets that set it apart from more traditional selling behavior:

  1. Having situational conversations versus making presentations. Traditional salespeople rely on making presentations because they believe this approach gives them the opportunity to add excitement to an offering with snazzy visuals and the supposed innovative use of such presentation tools as PowerPoint. Such dramatics, however, are unnecessary. In order to be effective, a salesperson must be able to relate his or her offering to the buyer in a way that will enable the buyer to visualize using the offering to satisfy his or her needs. The most effective way to determine those needs is through honest conversations with the buyer.
  2. Asking relevant questions versus offering opinions. People love to buy, but hate feeling sold to. Most salespeople come to a vision of the buyer's problem before the buyer does, usually to the buyer's chagrin. Customer-centric salespeople use their expertise to frame interesting and helpful questions, rather than to deliver opinions, drawing out of the buyer a realization of his or her needs, and building toward a more useful solution.
  3. Solution-focused versus relationship-focused. Salespeople who are not trained to converse with decision makers about product usage gravitate toward focusing on their relationship with their buyers, which can be fleeting, depending on the product and market. In situations where the buyer is attempting to satisfy a need, the successful seller must first earn the buyer's respect by knowing how his or her wares can provide a solution to that need.
  4. Targeting businesspeople versus gravitating toward users. Traditional salespeople gravitate toward the users of their products, while customer-centric salespeople target business decision makers. Most traditional salespeople can talk a great deal about a product's features, but very little about how it is used in day-to-day applications. Customer-centric sellers, conversely, focus on how to use a product and what results can be expected, and how much it costs versus the benefits it presents.
  5. Relating product usage versus relying on product. Traditional salespeople educate buyers about a product, and assume buyers will know how to apply the product's features to meet their needs. Customer-centric sellers are able to relate conversationally with buyers about product usage.
  6. Managing their managers versus needing to be managed. Traditional sales managers monitor activity, rather than progress; they are promoted to management positions, in part, because they were good salespeople - management skills are rarely used as criteria for promotion. Managers of customer-centric salespeople, on the other hand, must only monitor their charges' progress and, when necessary, provide company resources to help them make a sale.
  7. Empowering buyers versus attempting to sell them. Selling is not about persuasion, pressure or coercion; it is about empowerment. A seller's objective, going into a new customer relationship, should be to help the buyer solve a problem, satisfy a need, or achieve a goal. The difference between the two sales approaches is fundamental. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071501972
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 11/18/2003
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 258
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Bosworth and John Holland are cofounders of CustomerCentric Selling. Bosworth is the author of the seminal bestseller Solution Selling. He has helped tens of thousands of salespeople and executives define and implement new selling methodologies. Holland, formerly with IBM's General Systems Division, has trained hundreds of sales organizations in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 What Is Customer-Centric Selling? 1
Ch. 2 Opinions - The Fuel That Drives Corporations 11
Ch. 3 Success without Sales-Ready Messaging 29
Ch. 4 Core Concepts of CustomerCentric Selling 47
Ch. 5 Defining the Sales Process 61
Ch. 6 Integrating the Sales and Marketing Processes 81
Ch. 7 Features versus Customer Usage 89
Ch. 8 Creating Sales-Ready Messaging 99
Ch. 9 Marketing's Role in Demand Creation 115
Ch. 10 Business Development: The Hardest Part of a Salesperson's Job 135
Ch. 11 Developing Buyer Vision through Sales-Ready Messaging 151
Ch. 12 Qualifying Buyers 167
Ch. 13 Negotiating and Managing a Sequence of Events 181
Ch. 14 Negotiation: The Final Hurdle 193
Ch. 15 Proactively Managing Sales Pipelines and Funnels 207
Ch. 16 Assessing and Developing Salespeople 217
Ch. 17 Driving Revenue via Channels 235
Ch. 18 From the Classroom to the Boardroom 245
Index 251
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    Highly Recommended!

    This is an interesting, useful guide to selling a non-traditional way. Many companies, especially in high-technology industries, build their sales effort around early adopters. But early adopters are a minority of the market and their needs and preferences are distinct from those of the mainstream. To adjust their sales effort to the mainstream majority of the market, companies must listen to their audience. Instead of building sales messages around products, they need to build their sales communications and their sales process around customer needs and preferences. Customer-centric selling begins in the earliest stages of marketing and proceeds through the final sale. Authors Michael T. Bosworth and John R. Holland clearly set forth the nature of customer-centric selling and provide a comprehensive guide. We recommend this worthwhile addition to any salesperson's bookshelf.

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