Sunday, 27 May 2012

6 ways to underpin your trusted advisor status in Solution Selling

Tom Wallis of Phocas and Isabel Li of Crystal CG
 in discussion at the
TACK Solution Based Selling Course
 at De Vere West One, May 2012
Words like 'Partners', 'Solution Providers' and 'Trusted Advisors' are bandied about nowadays by many who are just trying to make a sale, when the reality is that they are nothing more than another traditional transactional salesperson.

  (Nothing wrong with being transactional when it's appropriate, of course ! )

However none of us begins our career as a trusted advisor.
 It is the status to which most professional salespeople  strive to become for trust is earned.

If you are a sales executive, it is worth thinking hard what traits a solution provider needs to have in order to be considered by your client as a “Trusted Advisor”.

 As a solution provider it is also worth reflecting upon what benefits you  would obtain if your clients trusted you more.

Such questions are posed to delegates during the TACK International Solution Based Selling course as we take some time out to discuss the issue of ' trusted advisor'.

Much of this issue revolves around  'perception' of course, but rather than  just talk about this ,the delegates formulate some actions that will plant the seeds of that perception of 'being' a trusted advisor in their clients' minds. ( see some of their flip chart work)

 Delegates come up with some interesting ideas. They often suggest that traditional selling involves a cross over of 'capabilities knowledge' -such as knowledge of the client company and the products and service they can offer to the client.

The selling skills of  the traditional sale centre on  conventional selling activities such as knowledge of sales, prospecting , opening the call, investigation, features and benefits, objection handling, negotiation, closing and follow up etc.

The delegates also tend to formulate ideas centred around improving business relationships, through use of interpersonal style mapping. Trusted advisors understand and adapt  to different personalities of clients by adapting their own behaviour. ( "Different strokes for different folks")
Additional actions include  developing the perception of trusted advisor in your client's minds.

 Fortunately  knowledge can be collected more easily through the Internet for both traditional and solution based sellers..

 Unlike the 'capabilities knowledge' of conventional selling the trusted advisor of the solution sell though  employs "Situational knowledge". This involves the client's situation - so becoming  a useful source of information by understanding the client's situation is key.

Similarly  being able to relate to the client thorough investigation, helping the client by helping the client to understand the implications of the situation and to visualise the  solution.

By setting up automatic alerts  and using on line business services and subscriptions you can gather practical information on  Client companies, their key customers, their relevant competition , key opinion leaders in the trade sector etc.  Such information which automatically which saves a lot of time and helps underpin your  client knowledge  to convey your trusted advisor image.

1. Google alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.

Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you'll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

 •monitoring a developing news story on your client companies, your clients' top clients and your clients' competitors

 •keeping current on a competitor or industry activities in general

 •getting the latest on a individual contacts e.g. MDs the 'good and the great' in your industry etc or news on events such as exhibitions, seminars etc.

 • keeping tabs on a client's favourite sports teams, interests, hobbies etc
2. Hoovers A Dun and Bradstreet service top-of-the-line business information

3. One source an infogroup company - personalised prospecting ,direct dial numbers, email addresses, intelligence in real time

4. Get on subscription lists to trade sector specialist magazines to build up your knowledge as trusted advisor. + Put aside some time to read the content!

5. Get on the mailing list for client in house newsletters     Read up before next call / meeting.

6. Use Linked In at both the individual cleint contac level but also to build up a list of more contacts/ allies  within client companies and also follow and read ( listen) in LinkedIn sector groups and forums.

After lunch energiser at Solution Based Selling to wake us up
 after the great lunches from the West One Steam, Bake , Grill restaurant
- You drive for show you putt for doe!

Negotiation case study skills practise at Solution Based Selling 

'Wine importer' Peter negotiates
 with 'hoteliers' Tom and Sally
Leon and Isabel negotiate as Simon listens
 and observes preparing to give feedback on the
 " California Here I come" case study
Craig and Jana negotiate while observer Derek listens
 in and prepares to give feedback

Related links on Solution Based  Selling;-

Solution Based  selling – course review

Research for the Solution  Based Sell

The Budget 2012 and opportunities for Solution Based  Sellers

Your differentiated value proposition in your solution  based sell

Solution Based Selling – 6 stage model

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