Through the years I’ve learned to avoid making eye contact with certain people during social gatherings to prevent them from “locking in” on me. These people are eager to engage with others, but only want to talk about themselves. Attempts to steer “conversations” in other directions are quickly re-routed. In sharing their interests, stories and accomplishments they hardly allow others to get a word in. People that make it all about themselves quickly become tedious.
How different are initial sales calls on executives made by B/C players selling B2B offerings?
A laser-like focus on offerings means providing intensive product training that increases the risk of mediocre sellers dominating calls. Like new parents showing pictures of their first-born, companies mistakenly think it’s all about their products.
The elephant in a sales manager’s office is that B/C players try to sell things. In doing so they attempt to “educate” executives that have much more important things to worry about. These calls often degrade into product pitches. Some end prematurely when executives either say something has come up so they have to cut the call short or delegate sellers to lower levels within their organizations. Most of these calls are lost opportunities.
Shift Away from Product and Towards Business Outcomes
To improve alignment with executive buyers, it’s important that sellers be prepared to talk about desired business outcomes specific to buyer titles and how offerings can be used to achieve them. Noun-based product training leads sellers to “lock in” on executive buyers with esoteric information they no interest in learning.
Instead, if sellers:
- uncover desired business outcomes
- help buyers understand the current barriers to achieving them and
- present only the relevant capabilities to address the barriers
Then sellers have a chance to make it more about their buyers before talking about how offerings can be used.
Discussions of outcomes and usage will be more productive for executives than products and features.
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®