The Principled Selling Method.
We live in a time when technology has given all businesses, from independent consultants to the largest corporations, the ability to make a massive impact with their brand in months not years.
Yet so many businesses seem to struggle with the change of approach they need to make to harness the new marketing and selling environment.
At a creative session with my editor when I was writing my book; I was trying to distil in as few words as possible the Principled Selling approach. The result was:
‘Generate, Motivate, Secure, Develop’
Four words that sum up the business development activity all businesses who want long term profitable relationships need to focus on.
Finding the right prospects in the right numbers has never been easier if you apply new thinking to your marketing activity and adopt the content marketing mind-set. Ditching expensive brochures and marketing material for well thought out content shared through social media channels enables reputations and brands to rapidly establish. In an era where trust in anyone ‘selling’ is at an all-time low, you can now build trusted relationships with target markets and even individual senior decision makers in a way traditional marketing and selling has never been able to. Despite what used to be said – it doesn’t take long to build trust and buyers are actively seeking trusted suppliers.
Marketing is no longer about mass production of propaganda or telling your story in the hope that someone who is ready to buy will notice; it is about motivating potential customers to engage with you. A brand and reputation is no longer what we say it is, it is what customers and our market tell each other it is via their social networks on and off line.
Most long- term relationships usually involve at least one face-to-face meeting and relationships can be won or lost in a less than sixty minutes. Traditionally this was when the ‘selling’ started. There are so many myths about ‘selling’ and so much bad press about salespeople that it isn’t really a surprise that many people who need to win business hate the idea of having anything to do with it.
Yet selling is no more than the exchange of goods and services for money and can be a really comfortable and natural experience for both seller and buyer. There are principled skills and behaviours involved that motivate customers to buy if selling is approached ethically, with integrity and a conscience.
The lines between traditional marketing and sales have become so blurred now that those charged with meeting customers or clients and the marketing team need to work more closely than ever before employing valuable content throughout the selling process.
Clients no longer need a salesperson to explain a product or service, they can do their research online and compare suppliers in an instant. What they do want is someone who can really understand them and who can help them achieve their organisations critical success factors. Knowing how to get proposals, RFT’s and presentations right is also important and many suppliers still get the basics wrong.
Holding on to existing customer and client relationships has never been so important. Managing the customer’s experience of doing business with you, having objective measurements of the strength of relationships and delivering as promised all contribute to customer loyalty. In a world where there is so much competition, there is a need to put at least as much effort into securing existing relationships as competitors do into trying to attract your best customers! Sharing valuable content with existing clients is just as important as using it to attract new clients.
Doing a great job for customers is no guarantee that they will continue buying from you or that they will buy your complete range of services or products. Developing new opportunities with existing customers requires as much planning and business development activity as winning new clients. If you have major accounts or key clients, having a two page action plan for how you grow new opportunities is much more important than static data kept on a CRM system.
In my experience the organisations that sustain sales growth understand where they need to focus their resources and energy – generating new customers, winning orders or instructions, securing existing customers or developing new opportunities. The best have strategies and actions plans for all stages of the business development process.