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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Solution Based Selling course review

Solution Based Selling is becoming an increasingly popular approach to selling.

It is seen to be not only ‘different’ to conventional / traditional selling but more relevant to the selling skills needs of today's business roles such as pre-sales, those looking to establish themselves as trusted advisers to their clients and those operating in complex sales rather than one-off meeting type transactional sales.

A definition
Providing a mutually shared answer to a recognised problem and the answer provides measurable improvement
Hugh Alford and Neil Parry - trainers for
"Solution Based Selling" held in the Cavendish Room Devere Venues West One http://www.deverevenues.co.uk/locations/west-one.html

The TACK  solution based selling model http://www.tack.co.uk/course_details.php?cat_id=72&co_id=84&col=F6082E goes through 6 key phases identified through the Buyers' views of Salespeople research Study 2010

1.       Creating rapport and trust

2.       Identifying your customer's  needs and priorities



3.       Creating and designing your  solution

4.       Presenting your differentiated value proposition

5.       Negotiating your terms and conditions



6.       Implementing your  solution, evaluating and developing

 1. Creating rapport and trust

A knowledge of contemporary Buyers’ views is important to a solution based  seller. So  we study the data from the  ongoing research project of TACK Research  Buyers' Views of Salespeople which has been tracking significant changes which today's solution seller needs for the last 13 years.  http://www.tack.co.uk/executive-summary/
http://www.tack.co.uk/executive-summary/
A solution based seller (SBS) looks to be achieve Trusted Advisor level with their clients..
So what makes a trusted advisor?
A Trusted Advisor provides advice , help and guidance.
Through establishing trust with clients, clients will tell the skilled SBS the truth rather than merely what the salesperson wants to hear.

Improving our interpersonal relationships and communication effectiveness is key to building that bank of trust. This knowledge of interpersonal relationships with both ourselves as SBS but also with all the people who we work with both within our organisation as well as with the external clients we serve is very useful.

With this knowledge  a SBS will be able to decide how to interact with others to meet their personal needs of others. It enables you to develop effective strategies for working with each style more productively.
TACK use the methodology of International Learning Inc http://www.internationallearning.com/http://www.internationallearning.com/
This methodology is so effective for SBS delegates.
 I met up with John Corbet from International Learning Inc. when he came over from the  Canton , Georgia in the USA to visit us earlier this year. It is always useful to update our knowledge with John and the application  of his work and the latest developments from the his matrix.
Hugh Alford TACK International and John Corbett , International Learning Inc

2. Identify customer needs and priorities

Solution Based Sellers need to develop in depth questioning skills that drill down to seek out information beyond basic background information but also to 'tease out" client's opinions , feelings , attitudes, concerns , priorities, needs and wants.

Using the TACK FIND ® Drill Down Questioning
methodology learn to question in a businesslike but conversational way by deducing the back ground , and factual information from the client in a natural but logical flow to reveal the customer's priorities, issues and concerns to expose Issues and concerns and  previously 'unidentified needs'.
Key to the process to not to leap to a solution but seek to get the client to put a monetary value on the concern  by making the customer express the impact of the issue more clearly from their perspective.
By then getting the client to visualise their preferred solution or outcome through identifying true need at which point it will need naturally to your benefits and You Appeal ®  


3. Create and design of your DVP ( Differentiated Value Proposition) solution

  • What is the true need/ solution your client?
  • Who is/ are the decision makers - what do they require?
  • What are your client's decision making priorities?
  • What are the  key components of your solution ?
  • How to communicate them in a way that differentiates your solution?

                                                         "Brain power alert!"
Solution Based Selling Delegates set about deriving the key components of their differentiated value proposition DVP

Anders integrating his DVP to specific client interpersonal pattern

The SBS cannot leave it there though. If your return to or definition "Providing a mutually shared answer to a recognised problem and the answer provides measurable improvement"

In today's business environment measurable improvement is most likely expressed in  financial terms. So SBS delegates develop a financial offer analysis.
Where appropriate  SBS look for relevant parts of their DVP which will help their client's profitability objectives such as :
  • increasing volume
  • increasing unit selling price
  • reducing unit cost
  • optimising fixed capital investment
  • optimising working capital investment
4. Presenting your differentiated value proposition

 I guess the You tube of Rick Perry forgetting his key three points at the Republican leadership debate on CNBC on Thursday 10th November will become a regular source for trainers to illustrate the importance of have easy to read notes of key points of a presentation and how  one answers questions at the end of the presentation or debate is a critical determining step as to whether your audience will buy your idea or solution whether in politics or business or indeed in the business of politics.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6an4zSj8LhU .

Texas Governor Rick Perry's inability to remember his own policy - the third US government agency he would eliminate if elected - during a televised debate may have seriously hampered his chances at winning the White House, analysts  have said.

We examined six stages of the process of presentation of our DVP we examine Investigation and research, planning, design, rehearsal, presentation and follow up.

Nowadays such presentations are not only conducted face to face but also via the Internet through audio/visual web conferencing on the likes of Webex http://www.webex.com/, Goto Meeting http://www.gotomeeting.co.uk/fec/ and Skype  calls http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/features/allfeatures/conference-calls/.

Peter explains his DVP to Cedric, Lo Mei and Anders

Katerina presents her DVP to Mike and Guillaume

Mike talking through his DVP with Guillaume studying it closely!

5.Negotiate terms and conditions

 The TACK philosophy ( You We I- You Appeal®) is always the place to start from in selling. So starting from the Buyers' perspective the Solution based Selling course progresses from Buyers' survey research work at the create rapport and trust stage right through to implementation. ( and around again...) 
When looking at the negotiation stage however it also means for the SBS we  first examine the client's procurement process in order to prepare ourselves for effective negotiations. We look at how the procurement function is evaluated so we are able to employ variables that are of great value to the purchaser but little cost to the supplier.
Then we consider the steps and skills of business negotiation
Neil leading the session on negotiation
Peter and Cedric in full flow during their negotiation exercise
"The calm before the storm!"
Katerina and Anders relax before  starting their negotiation skills exercise

" Fortune favours the brave"
Mike negotiates with two buyers Lo Mei and Guillaume
Regrettably the champagne bottles on the shelf behind Mike were empty samples!

 6. Implement solution, evaluate and develop
How do we implement the solution we have offered?
Customer reviews
What will you assess and how?

What will your client assess and how?

Your progress / success can be measured in three areas:-

  • Your Products / services  review e.g. product fit, performance, value and impact.
  • Your company  review  e.g. alignment, quality and commitment.
  • Your personnel review e.g. accountability, knowledge and caring.

Delegates leave the TACK Solution based selling programme with their action plans set and  a126 page workbook crammed with checklists , templates for style profiles and supporting notes to the key sessions of the programme.

The programme is supported with post course 'sms' text messages, blog links and post course briefing by the TACK account team.
                       TACK Solution Based Sellers at the London Course in November 2011
left to right - Hugh, Peter,Mike, Katerina, Lo Mei, Anders,Neil,Guillaume, Cedric.
Peter Drucker the management guru said

 " If you are not part of the solution you have gotta part of the problem".

We are about selling based solutions.

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