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Soundview Executive Book SummariesEven 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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