Trusted Advisors Lead with Perspective
What’s their unique situation? What’s the context of their business, the industry environment? What’s their vision of what they want to change?
Invariably, salespeople lead presentations with their who-we-are-what-we-do-why-us pitch.
Then they offer solutions without any (or little) situational awareness.
Clueless pitches end up viewed as commodities or, worse yet, the offending salesperson loses outright to the competition or butts up against a no-decision.
Complicating the situation, along come cross-functional decision-making teams with their own ideas on how to reach the business objective─standard now in complex B2B sales.
When you learn to tailor each individual’s vision for a solution and reach the overall business objective, you’re on the fast ramp to trusted advisor because you provide a high-value perspective, free of any taint of commodity.
CSO Insights offers this summary in a recent Sales Best Practice Study:
“Having access to executive decision makers is only a prerequisite for winning large deals. With access in place, a trust-based business relationship has to be established, based on value creation. Value, like beauty, always lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Different buyers perceive value differently, especially in large deals that can have a significant impact on their business success. A finance executive will find more value in a solid business case than the VP of product development, who will probably be more interested in specific features and functions. And the project manager will value implementation advantages more than the raw business case. Sales professionals have to be deeply aware of each buyer’s approach and how to tackle the challenge at hand in a way that suits the organization’s specific context. Dimensions, context, and approaches are different in every buying situation, and the larger the deal, the more important those elements are, for the buyers and the salespeople.”
If we can agree that awareness leads to understanding, understanding the prospect and his decision team is only half the battle. The other half represents everything else the salesperson must understand including his selling organization’s solutions, capabilities, and competitors.
All these elements factor into the formation of business perspective.
Why Perspective Matters
Perspective is the golden intangible that shines through when salespeople bring their collective expertise and focus it squarely on the prospect and opportunity. They connect what they know and what they’ve learned to what is all important to the prospect.
Prospects want to deal with salespeople who focus beyond their sale all the way to the result they want to achieve. It is a collaborative process banded with a solution to solve issues of measurable value rather than falling back to a predictable product discussion.
The polar opposite of a canned pitch, true perspective knows no boundaries. It is fluid, creative, and steeped in critical thinking. At the same time, it is grounded in core objectives to solve prospect problems from every angle.
In my opinion, a salesperson’s ability to provide perspective defines the difference between good and great sales professionals.
Over the past four years, the CSO Insights’ Sales Best Practice Study consistently identifies the leading characteristic of top sales performers─the ability to provide a valued perspective.
The lens fully comes into focus when you use your perspective, built on awareness and understanding, to help prospects find issues they didn’t see or consider, or when you present a solution other sellers overlooked.
If your solution fails to offer a distinctively different and higher-value approach to solving the prospect’s identified problem, compared to other options under consideration, do something about it or lose fast. Hold yourself accountable to this principle.
Remember, if the prospect already sees his problem, and all you do is fill the need with a solution he already knows about, he will not view you as a trusted advisor who delivers measurable value.
A trusted advisor brings valued perspective and uncovers issues placing the prospect’s business at risk. Then, he or she works collaboratively with the prospect to create the ideal, often unexpected, solution.
This chart may help you visualize the true path to trusted advisor status.
For some extra learning impact, watch this short video from my new MERGE 2.0 eLearning modules as I explain how perspective and value work https://youtu.be/Bn6tWZ1-Wy0.
In the next few weeks, I will release MERGE 2.0 eLearning modules. Stay tuned.
Don’t forget. Lead with your perspective.
Trusted advisors always see where they’re going.
See you on the upside,Bill
For more information, go to www.pleinairestrategies.com
Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700