When Kathy hired Everett, a former user of her company's products, she thought she had finally found someone who could easily penetrate her market. Everett came from the industry and had been a devoted user of Kathy's products in his role as a product repair specialist. When Everett told Kathy he wanted to make the jump from user to salesperson for her product line, she thought it a great idea and immediately offered him a position.
Now, six months after starting in his new sales role, Everett and Kathy were both frustrated at how ineffective Everett had been in producing results. All of the users Everett knew and met with were glad to hear his product expertise and belief in the product, but rarely did it turn into any new business.
Everett typified what happens many times when "users" make the jump and become "sellers." He knew the language and he knew the issues that other product users dealt with daily, plus he knew all the shortcomings of the competitor's goods. Once Everett got to speak with them, how could these advantages not produce quick sales and new customers? It seemed like a no-brainer for Everett to leverage his past to create his future. But he failed to remember one thing from his days in the field providing service, that whenever a new product was purchased, the decision was not based on what the techs preferred, but on what the boss decided was best. Even when users saw a clear advantage to making a change, the people he was calling on didn't have the responsibility or authority to say both "yes" and "no" for a new product line purchase. In truth, Everett was too comfortable talking to people that really could only say "no," and could never deliver the "yes."
Any salesman worth his salt would use his past connections and hands-on experience like Everett did as he moved into sales. A problem that arises with someone of this background is they don't appreciate the hierarchy, that you have to be talking with the right person at the right level of authority who's able to pull the trigger and make the final decision. Too often salespeople tend to focus on the people that will really like a new product or technology, and then hope they have the power to do the real selling to the actual decision maker.
To get out of his rut, Everett needs to sell above the comfort level he has with users. He needs to talk about business and profit opportunities with "the people upstairs," and let the inside selling happen from the top down. It's only when the final decision maker can truly understand the business value a product or service can bring, that the decisions will get made and the users will follow.
As your career has progressed, have you seen a shift in people you are willing to hold selling conversations with? Can you identify a decision maker fast than before?
Final Thought for the Morning:
"If you're not selling to the top, you'll end up on the bottom"
"It's not what you say that counts, it's what they believe that matters most"
Please share your top three goal you are going to accomplish this week- they can be personal or professional. What Growth Dynamics tactics are you going to use to accomplish your goals?
Last week, how did you do?