Tag Archives: walmart

Sales 2.0 Is Listening & The Death Of The 8 Step Sales Process

The customer is always right? At least that is how it should be- or once was?

I have come across several instances lately where the “Sales Process” superseded the need of the customer- namely me! Maybe I am hyper sensitive to the sales process because of my sales background, or maybe it is something larger. Maybe the writing is on the wall? Is the sales process of old obsolete? Are we in fact entering a new age of sales- Sales2.0 if you will? Gone are the days of the 8 step sales process that bring is in an army of experts to sell you on one product?

I entered a meeting today with a vendor that is already working with our organization. The purpose of the meeting was to go over the capabilities we had already purchased. 20 minutes of up-selling and chest thumping- and we finally started the overview of the purchased product. When is it time to stop selling and start servicing? It is proven that when you service a customer to extreme satisfaction they will purchase again and new sales ops organically develop. Turn the page and service your customer and ye shall find organic sales ops!

Another example: I was on the second sales call with a prospectus vendor. The mission for them was to show us their product with our brand in mind. Our own data points, a test drive if you will! No using Coke and Walmart as examples of how powerful the product is. Instead I was met with the following:

  1. “It costs us money to use your data in a demo”
  2. “We don’t have a playground for you to try it out, but we do have screen shots”
  3. “Just follow along with the slide deck- it’ll answer most if not all of your questions.”

My thought was “Maybe car salespeople aren’t so stupid- they at least let you test it before you buy it!” Ultimately both situations were a supreme waste of time for me. Time is of the essence to many of us in business today, so losing time for the sake of a sales process is futile. Barry Libert once said “When you give your customers, peers, constituents and family what they want, when they want it, and how they want it- you win them over- over and over again!” That resonated with me!

According to wikipedia a sales process is a systematic approach to selling a product or service. Traditional sales process definition breaks a selling cycle into the following phases:

  1. Prospect
  2. Qualify
  3. Propose
  4. Negotiate
  5. Close

So what is Sales2.0? I would argue it is listening more than you sell. Ask questions to get to the fundamentals of selling which is “find the need and fill the need.” But to do that you must listen. To listen you need to abandon the traditional sales process dictated by your organization and let the prospect tell you what they want. In order to do this I suggest giving the prospect an information sheet ahead of your call/meeting. In the age of online shopping and testimonials it has become a greater practice to research before you buy. A trend that will continue to grow as technology infiltrates all facets of our lives.

In addition to listening, I suspect large ticket items are going to all move into a “try it before you buy it” approach to sales. If you have nothing to hide – then have at it. Have faith that your product to will perform to the prospectus customers expectations. In many instances this will actually speed up the process and remove unneeded steps.

Finally, think about selling activities that allow both sides of the fence to learn from each other about what they would like. This helps build trust, mutual understanding and a true feeling of partnership from the outset. This is finding the need and filling the need collaboratively and in a far more productive way.

Be sure to check out a swell site called Sales2.0: Next Generation Sales Tip & Sales Strategies and here is something to think about if you service your customer. If you stop selling and service them- you will open pandora’s box for new organic sales without the need of a sales process.

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Authority Domains- The Who, What, How & Why!

ad-high-logo1I would like to apologize in advance for my inexcusable tardiness! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind between flying out to California and back twice in 12 days. Then the settling on a new gig! Ok! No excuses! Here I am and I promise moving forward I will be a good doobie and blog at least 3 times a week. I however cannot commit to being as insane as Aaron Strout and Chris Brogan. But a three a week benchmark is doable.

So how did I end up at Authority Domains? Well let me start with how I got here. The following are the items I feel are most valuable at finding a job in the new world:

  1. Twitter– Simply put – reach out to the folks you respect and value. Chances are your instincts are never wrong and having feelings of respect and trust are usually backed by integrity. Reach out and don’t hesitate to ask for guidance or feedback. Also, http://www.search.twitter.com is your friend-use it till it breaks!
  2. Say hello often– Saying hello to past business partners, friends and targeting companies you would like to be employed by on LinkedIn works well. As Mark Wallace told me, opening with my LinkedIn recommendations in PDF form is a better alternative to the traditional cover letter. He was right! It is non-traditional and that is the point. It sets you apart from the others that play the job finding charade like it is 1998.
  3. RSS Feeds– I subscribed to the RSS feeds of blogs that have jobs posted on them. Although this is not how I settled on my new gig, it always kicked my day off with activity and loaded my mind with possibilities. I met some fine folks this way.
  4. BLOG– I should have been blogging more when I was at Mzinga. I will never, not blog, again! Sharing what you know, and doing it passionately is better than a resume.
  5. Don’t ever close a door – Even if one company does not have an opportunity at a given moment, be transparent with them about what you would like to do with them and what you are looking for in your next gig. That is how I ended up with Authority Domains. The CEO of a Nattergalen referred me to AJ Ghergich (@authoritydomain) and the rest is history. I was clear with them what I was looking to do and low and behold- a referral that fit!

These are just a few items that worked. Hit me up if you would like to bounce ideas off me and I can share some other tips.

Why Authority Domains?

When I was working with clients at Mzinga I would get asked incessantly “what about SEO?” Soon to be followed by; “can you help me with link building?” Authority Domains fills a SEO and Link Building need for small to mid-level business. So tying together Social Media Consulting in with the before mentioned solutions made too much sense to me. AJ agreed!

But what about the Enterprise level customer? They too need to navigate the Social Media waters. We both agreed that we would package together a cost effective solution for them as well. This solution will take into account the selection process of choosing a enterprise vendor. We also decided to keep the SEO, Link Building and Consulting offerings separate- but will be able to work with any company to fill their need with an a la carte menu. Once again, it just makes sense!

Authority Domains has a virtual office. As the economy continues to spiral (the DOW went below 7K yesterday) Authority Domains is in a position to keep the cost of their solutions low because their operating costs are not abhorrent. Sleek in today’s economy is smart!

I once had a co worker reprimand me for not thinking big when it came to what kind of customers we wanted to sell too. My response was “large or small, every customer matters!” Maybe it is my Vermont upbringing or maybe I am naïve! But doing right by ad-corp-retreateveryone, including small customers seems like the right thing to do. I don’t think that is naïve! In the end your customer are spending money with you for a reason- so you best do right by them. So one of my goals was to work for an organization that would treat Grandma’s Jam the same way they would treat say-Walmart! Once again AJ and I were nodding in furious agreement. I was sold! I quickly realized that integrity meant a great deal more to me then I thought.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be in the position I am in. The business space is still very much in its infant stages when it comes to Social Media and Authority Domains is in a prime position to assist any business with Social ambitions. Filling a Social Media need at a minimal cost just makes sense! Especially today!

I look forward to working with all of you. Stay tuned for the completed Authority Domains Social Media Consulting packages as well as my first podcast on Whitehouse.gov. Here a video of the Authority Domains corporate retreat!

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