You’re involved in a major sales pitch. After months of work you’re told, with regret, that you have not won the business.

You contact the prospect who explains it was a close run thing, they had difficulty in deciding but on balance felt that another supplier better met their requirement. `

Naturally you are gutted but what can you learn? How can you ensure the sale goes in your favour next time?

What is it that separates the seller who wins the business from the seller who comes in second? Recent research highlights 3 key areas.

Skill 1 – Introduce NEW Ideas

Bring more to the table than just a sale – neuroscience tells us the brain loves novelty – it stimulates dopamine which aids both learning and motivation. So have something NEW to offer your prospect. Not necessarily a new product but new ideas, a new way of running their business more effectively.

Think of your last sales pitch – what new ideas did you offer? Mark yourself out of 10. And when prospecting don’t push product, instead think – ‘who can we teach something to?’ Share your expertise.

Skill 2 – COLLABORATE with your prospect

Give your prospect the clear impression that you will work together to solve his or her problem. If you Google ‘sales collaboration’ most of the search results are about why the supplier must collaborate internally eg sales and marketing, and of course that’s vital but it goes further – give your prospect the impression you will collaborate with THEM. Seller and buyer must collaborate to ensure the solution is optimal. We call this Consultative-Partner selling. It’s hugely reassuring and builds trust.

Modern selling is all about solutions and the best way to get the best solution is to work together. Think of your last sales proposal – how did you convey your desire to collaborate? Mark yourself out of 10.

Skill 3 – Persuade the prospect they will get RESULTS.

This is not always easy but if you can strengthen your offering with proof of how you can help, you will stand out. The recession may be over but everyone is still risk conscious. One of our favourite mantras is ‘people will spend money to make money’. A useful technique, which we described in a previous post, is to use the power of one.

Customers are increasingly intolerant of salespeople who don’t add value and prove it. Again think of your last sales pitch – what evidence did you offer that you will get results. Mark yourself out of 10.

When developing sales skills for today’s market place, you must master the fundamentals first, however once these are in place the three areas: NEW, COLLABORATE, RESULTS can really up your sales game. For recall we call this approach the NCR model.

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