In an era of global competition and Internet commerce, salespeople are in danger of becoming irrelevant. Today’s well-informed customers are able to select the best quality and lowest prices among scores of vendors.
Rather than watch helplessly as the revenues and profits of your products and services are eroded, you need to add more value to preserve their differentiation. One almost cost-free way to add more value is to change the way you sell.
Simple changes to your sales methods and the way you think about sales can dramatically increase the value your customers perceive. In fact, you may be able to provide so much value that your customers will feel indebted to you beyond the price of your products and services.
How to become invaluable
Salespeople have traditionally been taught to search out customers’ problems and help solve them. However, solving problems doesn’t make you very valuable–especially when customers can increasingly solve them without your assistance. What makes you invaluable is helping customers achieve their goals.
Often, this requires helping customers’ see beyond the constraints they have placed on themselves. Have you ever done something that you didn’t know or believe you could do? How did it feel? It feels great! It’s awe-inspiring. That’s the feeling your customers will have for you, if you help them achieve their goals.
The reason people don’t achieve their goals is that the current path is not working. To achieve the goal, some changes need to be made. If you help the customer identify, initiate, and complete the necessary changes, you will have provided an invaluable service–helping customers achieve more than they could have attempted or imagined on their own.
The five disciplines
To dramatically increase the value your customers perceive, you must adopt a change-centric view and practice the five disciplines of change leadership.
? Force Field Analysis–what forces is the person experiencing?
? Change Response Analysis–how will the person respond to the forces?
? Power Analysis–what effort will be required to make the desired change?
? Value Creation–what is the value of making the change?
? Change Actuation–how will the change be made?
Force field analysis
People and organizations make purchases to effect change. Force field analysis enables the salesperson to understand the forces that the prospective customer is experiencing, how those forces are influencing a change decision, and how those forces are influencing a corresponding purchase decision.