Sales Techniques that Find you Budget

To apply all sales techniques successfully, we said in previous posts that there are key areas of preparation that can make a massive difference throughout the whole sales process.

In particular, the area we’re going to discuss in this post could change your life forever. If you truly understand it’s importance to selling, you must learn and apply…

…Sales Techniques to better understand your Customer.

Sales Techniques to know your Customer

 

This one area of knowledge is so important in my opinion that I’m going to break this down into 2 posts. I want you to truly digest and understand it’s important before we go on to explain what it means to you as a sales person and how the application of your sales techniques can best take advantage of this information.

There is a big difference between knowing about your customer and understanding your customer.

To know your customer, you should know what they do as a business. You should know what products or services they offer. You should know who their competition are, there position in their marketplace, their key differentiators. That’s the sort of stuff you should know about them.

Depending on how many customers you look after there will be a varying amount of knowledge you should have and therefore how your apply these sales techniques will vary. If you are in Major Account Management and you only have one or two large customers you look after, then you should be quite fluent in their business. If on the other hand you have a large patch or region you look after, with lots of potential customers, then you would only be expected to be familiar with their type of business.

If you sell to consumers, then again it’s about being familiar, or to know what their needs might be in general (initially).

However, to understand your customer, is a very different story. This demands the application of certain sales techniques that enable you to comprehend why they do what they do.  Why a company does what it does is often influenced by something called “Business Drivers”, and that’s what we’re going look at now.

The expression “Business Driver” is a term that’s not often fully understood. Many people will say it’s things like, the company wants to “cut costs” or “replace it’s IT infrastructure” or the main business driver for this year is to “launch a new product range”. Now, although these are all real initiatives that the business does plan to implement, they are not business drivers. Let me explain why.

Let’s start with a definition of business driver.

“An external force or pressure acting on a business that makes it change the way it works”

So the key words here are an external force that makes it change the way it works.

So let me give some examples of external forces and then we’ll look at the types of change this leads to and where to apply your sales techniques to find sales opportunities:

Competitive Threat – A competitor launches a new product that competes directly with yours, or they reduce their prices or a new competitor enters the market, those sorts of things.

A very prevalent external force today is…

Terrorism. – I used to work in the Airline sector and you can imagine how this industry was affected after 9/11. There were big changes to the way these businesses worked.

Another big business driver today is..

Regulatory Compliance/Standards. This can effect everything right through to how a business actually manufactures things.

Another powerful force is…

Social pressures – things like smoking bans have had a massive impact on businesses like bars and restaurants.

You see how these are all external forces affecting the business and why the application of your sales techniques must be adaptable to what is happening to any given prospect at any given time.

 

Let’s look at some more…

Economic changes, like changes to interest rates or variations in currency values.

Politics. Imagine the situation where a country might enforce a trade embargo or the opportunities created if a particular government implemented incentives for inward investment.

Security. In fact there is a lot of regulatory compliance concerning not only terrorism and personal safety, but also cyber-terrorism and how this effects things like data protection and identity fraud.

Environmental pressures i.e. the pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprint or to improve their recycling processes.

But what does this mean to a business and to you and the application of your sales skills?

It means a business will respond to these pressures in some way and it will put in place “Business Objectives or Initiatives” to either take advantage of these external forces or to protect itself if it might have a negative impact, and this usually equals investment .

So let’s revisit some of the business drivers we briefly discussed and see what business objectives or initiatives these might create:

Competitive Threat

When a company is under threat from its competitors we’ll see them:

  • Launch new products
  • Improve their service offering or
  • Reduce price

So as an example, this is the reason we hear companies saying they need to reduce costs. It’s the reaction to the Business Driver. If the sale price is being squeezed, this is the only way you can maintain margin.

Terrorism

Here you’ll see companies…

  • Invest in or upgrade to new technology
  • Write and implement new policies or procedures
  • Invest in specific training for their workforce

Regulatory compliance/Standards

Again you’ll see:

  • Investment in policies and procedures or if it was new safety standards you might see
  • New ways of working or the implementation of
  • New equipment

All these pressures are opportunities for you to apply your sales techniques and find a sale.

 

Social forces

Like the use of evolving social networks. These can influence…

  • Marketing Campaigns
  • The launch of new or alternative services to attract different types of customers

 

So without going through the whole list, you start to see that there external forces that act upon businesses called “Business Drivers” and there will be a response by the business in the form of “Business Objectives or Initiatives”.

Use your sales techniques to identify what these are and you will find new sales opportunities. You will find a motivation to take action and you’ll find Budget that’s been allocated for investment.

In my next post I’ll go into detail on what this means to you as a sales person, and what sales techniques you need to apply to find this information for you to take advantage of it. For now, absorb this information and it’s important and start to think about your own customers, what they have done or are planning to do, and what “Driver” might have forced this action.

 

 

 

 

 

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