Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hosting the IRM Selling Solution Formula - Come dine with me

How well might we stand up to the scrutiny from our buyers if they conducted an " After we've gone" critique - like you see diners  give in the taxi cab home , holding up their score paddle to the camera, after a meal on  Channel 4's Come dine with me show. ? 

( next episode 79 series 25 Channel 4- April 11 2012 tonight 5p.m and  4oD)

In some ways, a good salesperson needs to be much more than a domestic dinner party host but rather have the skills of the maître d  ( maître d’hotel) .

Indeed a sales executive’s job description and personal profile have a number of parallels with a maître d.

 The responsibilities of a maître d’hôtel generally include supervising the waiting staff team ( similar to organising resources of back office, production ,etc.), welcoming guests (  akin to prospecting, networking) and assigning them to tables ( like account management) taking reservations (equivalent to taking orders), and ensuring that guests are satisfied ( customer service).
The IRM foormula Ingredients, Recipe and Menu of your offer analysis

In large organisations such as hotels or cruise ships with multiple restaurants, the maître d'hôtel is often responsible for the overall dining experience including room service ( on line buying and telephone sales) and buffet services ( taster days, seminars etc.), while headwaiters or supervisors are responsible for the specific restaurant or dining room they work in. ( maybe field engineers)
In restaurants where food is partly prepared at table, the maître d’hôtel may be responsible for such operations as boning fish, mixing salads, and flambéing foods. ( Demonstrations,  training, presentations)
Like the maître d , a salesperson has to communicate persuasively the chef’s recipes. This means translating the language of the Kitchen – not just the Gordon Ramsey expletives !!! but words such as  ‘ covers’ are jargon that diners don’t use. So ‘covers’ become portions.

 Ingredients  and cooking steps are translated into the language of the  menu appealing not just to the rational motivations of nutrition health and safety and cooking functionality  for the diner but to the presentation of the meal - the eating  and drinking of the entire dining experience.
This skill in communication enable them turns the words of the menu ( the equivalent of  sales literature , brochures etc.) into persuasive communication.
This is how Philip Stanley and I facilitated a set of  sessions developing and presenting Offer analysis for a group of twenty delegates at an open course PRO PAYBACK Selling for TACK INTERNATIONAL last month.

 We make the session very pacy , fun and highly active

Hugh Alford and Philip Stanley , TACK International

The maitre d is a trained professional who knows what to say beyond the words of the menu, beyond the blurb on the wine bottle.
The untrained waiter does not know what the specials are or what the soup of the day is, what are the vegetarian options? or whether there are nuts in the ingredients- ever been there fellow diners?!
A salesperson today needs to have more knowledge that what the clients has gleaned from the website, literature etc before the call with the salesperson. They need to be trained.
Actually most salespeople have the knowledge but not necessarily at the ‘fingertips’  .             How often after a sales call that maybe did not go as well as you hoped?
Yet when you leave the meeting, put down the phone, sign off  from the sales webinar and the ‘pressure ‘is off you realise you missed explaining something “ If only I had remembered to say X., Y or Z….” you say to yourself.
i.e. It was not a problem of lack of product or sales knowledge but  rather of having the information to hand at the time in the front of your mind. One way to develop this skill is to derive a detailed analysis of your offer.

Whatever the level  of experience of a sales professional it is good to go back to the basics. Star sportspeople train, opera stars warm up actors rehearse so salespeople ( however advanced they see themselves to be) should go back to the fundamentals.
What is the most fundamental question on any buyer’s mind?
Not price ( although that will be high on the list of course) but relevance

What will it do for me?!
i.e. What is your offer
Once in a while it is a really good exercise to get some flip chart pens and  paper and commit your offer to paper. You can do it indoors - You can do it al fresco.

You can do it with you breakfast orange juice to hand

You can do it outside with a cup of tea or coffee

 Once done.

Test that your Offer Analysis is sufficiently robust and rigorous.  Stand up and present it to a group of colleagues. This will help you become more fluent in explaining the benefits and personalised benefits when addressing real  clients.

Any places in your offer which are a 'bit thin' or insufficiently supported become more obvious to you and you can improve your offer.

Standing up also exposes your analysis more clearly to you. It test the substance and logic of your offer analysis.
 explaining her offering

standing up all gets you to enthuse more about your offer

Get your audience to challenge the claims you make in your offer and the proofs of such claims. This will help your offer analysis - and particularly  the way you express the You appeal . It will make is less stilted and sounding like Sales patter or sales 'Spiel'.

Enlist the help of colleagues to put your Offer Analysis to the test
presenting his offer
being challenged by his colleagues
Fay answering a "So what?" challenge
Don't throw out your strongest benefits too cheaply. Thes are often the benefits of your offer with rspect to savings in the client's TIME, savings in resources or savings in Money or improved Return on Investment.

 An example of Offer Analysis work by delegates at the TACK International PRO  April 2012 PAYBACK selling course at Coventry. The delegates generated a lot of great work. Philip and I wallpapered the room.


Passing out parade of newly qualified sales maitres d at  course in Coventry ,
 Warwick University Conference's Scarman House

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