Customer Centric Selling (or why nobody wants to hear from you)

Customer Centric Selling

It is common here at Outbound Marketing to provide weekly training with the sales team of our customers. The truth is that the current week I’m writing this text has been the one that I’ve had the most meetings focused on one-on-one training.
To give you an idea, so far there have been approximately 34 meetings. As I write this text, it is still business hours, and I have one more training. That way I’ll close the week with 35 coachings one by one.
What I’d like to share as a case for this week in terms of training is what I see as the salesperson’s first performance when asking me to make a sale. Sales coaching basically works like this: I ask the salesperson, who is receiving the coaching, to simulate with me a sale that he would make on a daily basis.
Simulating a sales attempt, my first objective is to analyze the sales pitch and also other factors, such as your sales profile, tone of voice, confidence, technical knowledge, etc.
In this way, I can map and analyze the gaps it has so that, in subsequent attempts, it can be removed from these gaps and fine-tuned the current discourse.

coaching

The idea of ​​1×1 coaching is exactly to take theoretical content and turn it into practice.
And it is quite common, in this first conversation, to predict that the seller’s attempt will fall into one of two situations:

  • The seller will make a polite opening, with the name, “How are you?” and “you have a minute” and will go to an institutional presentation saying what the company does.
  • Or the salesperson will superficially investigate (primarily through the SPIN Situation questions) my scenario, looking for something I say to anchor and start their sales pitch.

I call this sales approach: “before you finish speaking, my business is already presenting”.
From experience, I know this is very common in the Brazilian sales scenario. Even in business-to-business deals.
And there are the following issues related to this sales approach:

  • Most people don’t like to be told what to do or how to think.
  • In a generic pitch, buyers will conclude that there are features of your product/service that they don’t need and will easily raise objections.
  • The salesperson is not able to understand the lead scenario in order to better position his sale.

How do I feel when a salesperson behaves this way?
If you recognize that this is also your approach, you may need to change it, do you agree?
This is where Customer Centric Selling comes in. It’s changing the concept of “I talk and you listen” to something closer to “Hey, let’s have a chat here and then see what we can do together.”
This is the first difference the technique incorporates into sales.
Let’s talk about the key points to make about Customer Centric Selling? You can use them without necessarily incorporating the entire technique into your speech. So let’s go to the first point.

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  1. Nobody cares about your monologue
  2. Pipelines must be refreshed all the time
  3. Sales managers must reduce the subjectivity of qualification
  4. Last but not least about Customer Centric Selling

Nobody cares about your monologue

y conversation, you must understand the dialogue. Not a monologue where you talk about your solution or other issues that the other side of the communication isn’t interested in. It’s a common belief, and I believe it’s been mine as well, that selling is a matter of pure persuasion and coercion from the other person.
Maybe this might even be true for simple sales (still half true), but in a complex sales scenario, this goes down the drain.
As clear as it sounds, this is the behavior I most encounter during the training I teach. It’s simple, you ask someone to sell you something and she leaves directly to talk about the solution and, after a few seconds of conversation, makes a direct closing like “Hey, can I send you a proposal?”.
This is the opposite of having a conversation, you know? And please tell me that you, a salesperson or a team manager, do not identify this behavior in your team.
This is the opposite of putting the customer in the conversation and goes against the first point we made at the beginning of the text:

Most people don’t like to be told what to do or how to think.

I hope your company’s leads don’t feel that way.
If I don’t accept the phone company’s package offer that claims I’ll get a speed boost and still pay less, why would I blindly accept an offer for my organization, as this will have a much greater impact (positively or negatively) on my business?
So the first point that we enter as a need here, and which is a proposition of Customer-Centric Selling, is the following:
We need to understand our buyer’s needs, problems and objectives instead of making the generic pitch of our solution.
So what should we do to:

  • Make our sale a smart, customer-value conversation.
  • Understand our lead’s needs, problems, and objectives.
  • Don’t look like a telemarketing salesperson.

This is very simple and we’ve already talked about it here. Only use SPIN Selling and GPCT in your team. And when I say this, it’s not lip service, we implement these techniques in our customers’ sales pitches, in addition to using them internally. That’s the only way we were able to transform their sales pitch into a technique-based sale, always focusing on selling more and better.

Pipelines must be refreshed all the time

waterfall

The constant flow of leads in a pipeline that works with volume
This question goes straight to the concept of revenue predictability since one of the first points proposed by Aaron Ross is exactly the need to have a constant generation of leads.
But far beyond that, you need to have a process where each phase within the pipeline is receiving a fresh stream of qualified leads. After all, it’s impossible to qualify something without there being some difference between a previous and a subsequent parameter, do you agree?
It’s important to say that disqualifying is a natural thing too. Being efficient in sales means saying no to those leads who don’t fit or are unable to use your solution.
During training, I identify many salespeople who don’t give up on a lead at all. It is somewhat common to hear:

I never give up on a lead!

And these words even come out with a certain pride in the seller. When I hear this, the first point I try to explore is the situation where this salesperson doesn’t give up on a lead.
It is almost always very clear that the salesperson works with a very small volume of leads and/or there is no new and constant flow of leads in their pipeline. This is not a good situation!
Is it like that in your sales team too? Know what you’re not doing right.

Sales managers must reduce the subjectivity of qualification

This point goes hand in hand with the previous one.
But by reducing the subjectivity of the process, the sales manager is solving a number of problems. The first problem arises from the fact that by eliminating subjectivity from its process, it becomes possible, once structured, to optimize it.
And from this, a series of positive implications follow:

  • Scalable marketing and sales;
  • Scalable training;
  • Absence of marketing and sales metrics;
  • Prioritization of key deals;
  • Less susceptibility to the crisis.

To eliminate the subjectivity of qualification, it is necessary to make it clear that only by establishing a process is it possible to clearly assess which leads are really opportunities.
In a scenario like the one mentioned above, where the salesperson does not give up for anything about the lead, it is very common to lose a lot of time with a lead that will not close in the end. And something that should be weighed is how far we should invest in time for a lead.

Beach

Last but not least about Customer Centric Selling

The change that has taken place in the way sales should be made is very clear, isn’t it? A new sales statistic shows that a considerable part of customer loyalty starts during the sales process.
If you really consider it important to retain the customer, this methodology is for you. Far beyond a single methodology, we have several parallels of Customer-Centric Selling with methodologies we’ve already talked about here: SPIN Selling and GPCT.
If you liked this text and are also against the way of selling based on pushing products to a buyer, who may or may not take advantage of the solution, join us in sharing this text and let’s improve the sales scenario in the country: company by company.