One of the most common themes of the Sales 2.0 Movement has been the need for the upcoming generation of corporate sales people to be a value-add, not a value-drain to their prospects. Several weeks ago I quoted Selling Power‘s Gerhardt Gschwandtner about how technology isn’t just shifting the power structure into the prospect’s hands, it’s “displacing” the existing selling process entirely.
And a great blog article today by marketing experts Brains on Fire brought some perspective on one of the ways a sales rep can move in the direction of being a value-add instead of the alternative:
In the blog article, author Robbin Phillips demonstrates the concept with a story about a hotel, a round of golf, and a missing sweatshirt:
“Years ago my friend met his Dad at the Four Seasons hotel in Dallas. It was a business trip but they managed do play a round of golf on their first day. Then they hit the bar for a beer. A bit later his Dad realized he left his sweater in the golf cart. Together they realized it was really too late in the day to do much about it. And decided to call about it in the morning.
When they went up to their rooms to dress for dinner, his Dad found his sweater lying perfectly folded on his bed. Sounds simple really. But when you think of the number of hands that had to touch that sweater to make that simple gesture of service happen, it’s mind blogging.”
The moral of the story: the most powerful types service are the ones that take place unrequested, behind the scenes.
The kinds that people don’t expect, but are grateful for afterward because they realize that the person / people behind the company really DO want to provide better service, and not just talk about it.
In the Sales 2.0 world, the concept is the same—to win sales and drive prospects, a sales person has to anticipate needs, not just react to them.
When a prospect says, “I have this problem, and we need to work past it,” do you say, “Great, let’s take a look at it and see what we can do”?
Or do you say, “You know, based on our conversation last week I noticed some concerns there, and I’ve already done Paperwork X, set up Process Y, and we’ll look at Option Z to see if we can help you with that. Is this going to be enough, and what else can we do to make this better?”