Getting to Yes

on Jun 23, 2017 10:29:21 AM
Impact Sales Performance
Printing companies used tried and true sales strategies in the 80’s and 90’s, but those techniques are yielding fewer results today. Print service providers need new strategies to stand above the competition and attract business that spurs growth. At Gimbel & Associates we’ve been teaching print industry salespeople how to react to the ever changing business environment in which they find themselves, with great success.
The process is evolutionary. Companies don’t change overnight, but we’re sharing helpful tips that can have an immediate impact on sales performance. These ideas will encourage customers to say “yes” more often.
  1. Get to yes on agreeing about customer business goals
  2. Get to yes on identifying critical stakeholders and decision criteria
  3. Get to yes on supplying access to additional data necessary to quantify the value of solutions
  4. Get to yes on supporting the process to implement new solutions
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Selling Complex Services and Solutions
Despite all the changes in communications and technology in the B2B world, most companies still buy services based on one of three primary decision criteria: price, relationship, or value. The challenge for salespeople today is how to establish their brand, their company, and their service as a source of added value for their prospective clients. 
Selling on Price
Many customers want to buy on price. History has trained and motivated them to consider everything, even complex services, as checklists of features and price points. To enable objective buyer comparison, this stance reduces print and related services to commodities. B2B buyers, empowered by the internet, can easily gather pricing and competitive information on almost any product or service they need.
If price were the most important decision criteria, successful buyers need only be good researchers. Cost usually isn’t the most important thing, but purchasing agents and print buyers, who are the subjects of traditional printer sales presentations, rarely consider grand corporate strategies as weighted factors affecting vendor selection. Their focus is much narrower.
Getting to yes requires printer service provider salespeople and executives to engage with higher ranking decision makers responsible for achieving corporate objectives.
Relationship Selling
Many B2B services are sold primarily on relationships and delivering great customer service. Successful salespeople have focused on building solid relationships with clients for years. Unfortunately, changes in areas such as client organization, personnel, procurement policy, mergers, or strategic direction can disrupt even long-standing relationships. New decision makers may bring their own vendor relationships, minimizing the personal connections valued by their predecessors.
Relationships are still important, yet I discourage our clients from depending upon a single champion as their sole connection with a customer. In today’s complex sales process, with decision by committee common in most medium and large organizations, successful salespeople must get to yes several times with several people to close a deal.
Getting to yes means widening client relationships to nourish contacts with individuals in many areas of client organizations.
Selling the Value
Legacy sales techniques focused on what to print, rarely considering the impact of print projects on customer goals and operations. Sales calls rarely included conversations about corporate objectives, expectations, or 2 People sitting cropped.jpgcampaign results measurement. Clients arrived at sales meetings with their printing specifications already established. All that remained were discussions about paper, ink, finishing, and volume-based pricing.
As I train and coach salespeople, I often see deficiencies in their sales approaches. Salespeople have to do better research, customize their approach and messages with different buyers and influencers, and clearly define the value of their services to their prospective clients. Salespeople need to connect the proposed solution to the impact it will have on customer organizations.
Of course, there will there be discussions of price along the way. When salespeople establish value at the beginning of the sales process, however, they can continue to set expectations for making decisions around results and impact.  If the sales process starts with a focus on value, salespeople can position cost conversations within the provinces of financial impact and business goals with more importance than just the cost of the solution.
Getting to yes requires research to determine how proposed solutions will positively impact customer businesses or resolve their challenges. Ask questions to clarify customer business goals, identify stakeholders, and understand customer decision criteria. Focus on customer-desired results throughout the sales process.
Challenger Sales
A new body of sales training knowledge has emerged.  Contemporary sales strategies now emphasize moving past relationship sales to other strategies like The Challenger Sales.
I have taught clients how to use Challenger techniques. Their success shows that great salespeople stand out when they challenge clients with new ideas and strategies to impact their organizations. Critical to success with this approach and similar modern sales strategies is demonstrating services and solutions that provide intrinsic value to the client and their organization. While this sounds simple, putting it in practice is not.
Gimbel & Associates Tips for Getting to Yes
  •  Get past gate keepers with a solutions approach that measures the value against customers’ goals.
  • Get in front of decision makers and establish value for services and solutions. Be prepared to describe results enjoyed by similar clients.
  • Gather data on people, processes, and impact to provide context on the value of proposed solutions
  • Establish value in managing the change process. Show clients how the team will help them implement the solutions.
Customers are not buying print. If decision makers have said yes, they have agreed the print service provider will allow them to achieve their business goals, resolve their issues, show a return on investment, and impact their end-customers. They are buying results from the printer, not paper and ink.
Great salespeople give their accounts opportunities to say yes several times during the sales process. A decision maker with business goals and challenges is always looking for services, solutions and partners that produce value and results for their organizations. Focusing on the value of provided services at every stage in the sales process will encourage customers to say yes more often.
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PRINT 17 is returning to Chicago this September—jam packed with high-value, engaged solutions essential to your success. Whether you’re looking to expand knowledge  or explore new topics, PRINT 17 provides innovative new learning formats designed to grow YOUR business. Join Gimbel & Associates  this year Roger P. Gimbel, EDP presents:

How to be Successful in Expanding Your Business Opportunities Globally

Wed. September 13| 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM |

Most enterprise corporations today are doing business globally or they have a desire to do to so.  It’s important to be able to provide the same services globally that you provide locally for your customers.  Roger P. Gimbel, EDP, one of the original founding members of the International Printers Network, a consortium of worldwide printing companies, will share his insights in how doing work globally can increase local volume.  This session will be very interactive!  Click here to register today.


Topics: sales, consultative selling, solution selling, getting to yes, challenger sale, sales strategies

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