The buyer is the key to the sale. Sales reps that follow a sales process which effectively focuses on the buyer’s perspectives, needs, and situation will create an effective buyer engagement experience. Reps that can offer a customized service with a personal touch will have a significant edge over competitors that focus on a “make the sale” rep-centric approach to the sales process.
SLiA Group Sales Leadership in Action Group Buyer Engagement Experience Executive Summary: The buyer is the key to the sale. Sales reps that follow a sales process which effectively focuses on the buyer’s perspectives, needs, and situation will create an effective buyer engagement experience. Reps that can offer a customized service with a personal touch will have a signiﬁcant edge over competitors that focus on a “make the sale” rep-centric approach to the sales process. Bottom Line & Business Impact: Sales reps that can deliver a buyer experience that is professional, proactive, and focussed on understanding and meeting the buyer’s needs will be in-demand, and will ultimately sell more. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 1 Create a Quality Sales Experience A quality buyer engagement experience is not about being nice, pleasant, and jovial with buyers. Acting this way is a given, and is not an effective way for reps to differentiate themselves. It is about consistently doing the right things (i.e. pre-call planning, having an agenda for the meeting, etc). Providing a quality buyer experience creates repeat business Lay of the Land and develops long term business relationships with buyers. It is also something that has often been overlooked by many sales organizations over the past few years. Buyers have grown weary about the quality of service they have been receiving during the sales process. Sales leaders and reps alike must revisit their customer service strategy to remain relevant and effectively meet the needs of buyers. With an abundance of similar products in the market, a sales team that can provide a quality service experience for their buyers will be well-positioned to sell more. This is especially important during poor economic times, and when the markets are highly competitive. Enhancing a buyer’s purchasing experience begins with marketing/prospecting efforts, and is passed on to sales reps who must continue to be focused on: • The Buyer Engagement Experience • The Buyer’s Expectations • Improving the Buyer Experience The Buyer Engagement Experience Too many reps are only concerned about closing, rather than focusing on the development of an ideal solution that will lead to a close. Sales reps must remain focused on the buyer throughout the entire buyer engagement process. Too often there is so much focus on the sales organization and their marketing and prospecting campaigns, that the buyer’s perspective gets overlooked. Buyers that sense they are not the focal point of a business deal will immediately be turned off. Sales reps must: • Demonstrate professional respect: Sales reps will create a positive environment by: o Being prepped for meetings o Respecting the buyer’s time o Letting buyers drive the small talk o Being on time o Having a purpose and agenda for each meeting • Provide a hassle free experience: Sales reps need to be proactive and reactive with buyers by responding to their requests quickly and accurately. They must also ensure that all agreed upon tasks, such as implementation and delivery, are carried out as promised. • Fulﬁll the buyer’s needs: Sales reps must have the knowledge necessary to solve their buyer’s issues. Reps have to be able to act independently and provide the customer service experience a buyer expects. Reps that follow the buyer engagement process and remain aligned with buyers will engage buyers in the sales process to effectively meet their needs. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 2 • Deal with errors: Issues will happen. It goes without saying that they should occur as infrequently as possible. The rep’s professional credibility is based on the manner in which they handle issues. A problematic situation must be dealt with up front, quickly and effectively, rather than trying to downplay the situation. o Take ownership o Acknowledge issues o Apologize o Create a plan to address the issues • Resolve problems: Effective problem resolution should be a top priority for all sales reps; however, reality proves this is not the case. Buyers want reps that will resolve their problems. Since the buyer engagement process focuses on the buyer ﬁrst, reps can hone in on the speciﬁcs of a buyer’s need and develop solutions that will help them achieve their goals. The Buyer’s Expectations All buyers have certain preconceived notions about sales reps and their company before entering the sales process. Buyers have a right to a minimum standard of service and have expectations regarding: • Accessibility: Sales reps have to accessible. Reps must strike a balance between: o Being available o Providing a service o Respecting buyer’s time Reps must be accessible when their buyers need support. After all, buyers are the key to achieving sales goals. Sales reps must provide their buyers with as much support as required to effectively serve and improve their situation. • Customization: Buyers are not interested in generic solutions, but purchase based on the unique capabilities of a product. They want a personalized experience that is focused on the speciﬁcs of their situation. • Knowledge: Buyers expect sales reps to have done their research. They expect reps to have background knowledge of the buyer’s situation on at least a surface level prior to their ﬁrst meeting. Pre-call planning is of the utmost importance here. Reps cannot waste valuable time on survey-style questions and eliciting data they could have collected prior to meeting a buyer. Buyers are more educated than ever. They expect reps to be prepared and properly trained. Buyers want results, and if a rep cannot quickly show signs of being able to solve their problem, they will move on and seek a solution from another organization. Improving the Buyer Experience Sales reps have to work on improving the buying experience. The focal point of any sale is the buyer and their experience. Reps too often lose sight of the importance of service delivery. Fulﬁlling a buyer’s expectations is the goal of any quality sales process as it guides reps by focusing on the buyer during each step, ensuring alignment along the way. The buyer engagement process helps reps improve a buyers experience by: © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 3 • Focusing on the basics: They must focus their efforts on the buyer and their perspective by actively listening to their concerns. It is an added bonus if reps can also create a personal connection with their buyers. Personal connections will open more doors and can lead to referrals. • Internal credibility: Buying is a risk. Sales reps have to understand the buyer’s apprehensions, needs, and concerns. They must be sure to work with buyers in whom they have conﬁdence, and perceive to have made the right decisions for their company. A poor deal will affect the buyer’s credibility within their organization, and will negatively impact their business career. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 4 Putting into Practice The Buyer Engagement Approach Use a Buyer Engagement Process, Not a Pitch & Prove Approach The Fundamentals of the Buyer Engagement Approach The Importance of Listening Acquiring Credibility Closing Challenges & The Buyer Engagement Approach Principles of Negotiation Sales 101 - Features and Beneﬁts Sale Leadership in Action Group products are for the exclusive use of SLiA Group’s clients, and for internal purposes only. Members can use the document in whole or in part. The products are to be used for internal purposes only, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the paid memberships. Members may customize the tools and templates by editing titles, headers and footers with their company information. © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com Page 5
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