close isn't the end of the sales
process. It's only a beginning
the beginning of a new phase of that process.
I call it the Stepping Up Phase. The more
sales we achieve, the more sales we should
achieve; for in achieving more sales, we
create more opportunities
to achieve even more. We stop getting "more"
when we either stop believing that there
is more we can get or we don't have the
or tools to get them.
Good sales people can close, but few "step
up" for even more sales from that close.
Yet stepping up should be one of the easiest
accomplishments in sales that is
if you know how to build the staircase.
Here are three tips for achieving consistent
Early: George Burns said, "I
had to work
hard for 20 years in vaudeville before
I became an overnight
success in radio." That's a lesson
in stepping up. Step-ups don't just happen
"overnight." We must prepare
for them. Prepare for them in the early
stages of the sales process when prospecting
for new clients, identifying decision
makers, and making initial calls.
yourself: "What is the close in this
sale? And how can that close lead to a
step-up in sales?" Looking at your
sales challenges from the viewpoints of
step-ups gives you new insights into those
and new ways to meet those challenges.
instance, I work with a materials supplier
that wanted to acquire new
customers in the computer industry.
The sales people aimed to replace their
competitors' materials with their materials
in computer housing applications. They
would have gotten closes with that focus
but not step-ups. The differences
between their competitors materials and
their materials were negligible in cost
and performance. Step-ups would only come
when they introduced their materials into
design stage of product development.
sales people continued to develop the
traditional channels to their customers'
purchasing departments. But they also
began building step-ups early by including
design engineers in their first-stage
sales activities. They focused
on being their customers' "design
partners" not simply showing
them where they could save costs and achieve
performance advantages but also showing
them how they could get market share through
uses of those materials. As design partners,
they not only got closes but step-ups
by integrating their materials into new
generations of housings.
to Results: Step-ups happen
only when you answer the vital needs of
your customers not the nice-to-answer
needs but the truly vital needs. Discover
those needs by asking and answering: "What
are your customers absolute must-have
results? Those "must-haves"
are your great step-up opportunities.
instance, I consulted with an insurance
company whose growth had flattened out.
We found out a key reason why. Their products
were not meeting the must-have results
of their customers. Their customers absolutely
had to grow. Yet the company's products
did not materially address those growth
needs. Only when the sales people began
to develop and sell products that met
those needs did the company begin to get
back on the growth track.
Cause Leaders: Salespeople
often fail to get step-ups because they
have a short-sighted view of the customer.
They view the customer as only a customer!
Whereas, if we want to get step-ups, we
must see the customer not just as a customer
but as a "cause leader," one
who can lead our cause both inside and
outside their company.
Instead of aiming for just a close, aim,
too, to obtain that customer's leadership.
instance, the salespeople of the materials
company not only worked diligently on
closing with the engineer-customers but
also on creating step-ups by persuading
those engineers to be the cause leaders
for their materials within the company.
is the way that they enlisted that leadership.
They discovered that the absolute must-haves
of the engineers were productivity and
fast cycle-times. The engineers were under
the gun, pointed by upper
management, to produce designs faster
with fewer resources.
response, the sales people developed a
materials performance package for the
engineers that increased their productivity
and cycle-times. In addition, they brought
in productivity experts from their own
company to help the engineers streamline
their design processes. They're not only
selling their materials. They're selling
productivity as well. Seeing that the
sales people were helping them meet their
vital needs, the engineers became the
sales people's cause leaders within their
company unleashing a torrent of
sell yourself short by focusing exclusively
on the close. Liberate the step-up opportunities
that are embedded in most closes. By starting
early, linking to results, and getting
cause leaders, you can multiply sales
far beyond what simple closes achieve.
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