Six steps to an authentic sales culture

Successful brands are authentic brands. They are clear about who they are, what they believe in and what they do best. And as a result, they behave in line with these beliefs in the way they go about marketing and selling to their consumers.

Is the above picture true for you, your agency and your team? How would you describe the way you position and sell your expertise? What is your approach to building relationships and why do you choose that particular approach?

Your clients’ experience of your agency can push them away from you, or draw them closer.  Building an authentic sales culture for your business can draw them towards you. How do you create your authentic sales culture? Here are six behaviours that build a respectful and authentic sales approach. How many of these are you practicing?

1) Understand the way your clients want to buy. Do you ask your clients how they want to be sold to? You might think of asking your clients what they think of you when you are engaged. But suppose you asked them about what happened beforehand, in the run up to them choosing you? It’s easy to forget this in the euphoria of the win. But knowing how and why you won them over can enable you to repeat the process. After the bubbles have died down, you might be surprised when your client tells you what mattered to them.

2) Get your clients in a room and bring your team in to listen to them. How often do your clients visit you? Suppose you asked your clients to tell your whole team how to sell to them. What difference would this make to your ability to serve them? By making this a whole team meeting, you increase the likelihood of new thoughts, fresh ideas and approaches being developed.

3) Sell the impact. Do you ask yourself the question “why should a client buy what we have?” rather than “what is it that we are selling?” This change of emphasis is especially useful when discussing creativity because it’s not just about what it looks like. It’s about why it looks the way it does in relation to the objective, the situation, or the people that it’s looking to influence.

4) Map the people network within a client’s business and start at the top. How many people are involved in your client’s decision-making process? And where is the best place to start a conversation? What does the map of their business look like? Suppose you started a convesation with the MD or CEO. This is worth thinking about for two reasons. Firstly, MDs and CEOs want to be sold to by good sales people. They often employ these same types of people in their businesses. So they value these skills and know how to spot them. Secondly, the CEO has overall responsibility for the brand. You can develop your candidacy for becoming the brand guardian by building relationships with the MD or CEO.

5) Experience your sales process for yourself How often do you as the leader of your agency accompany your team to meet the MD or CEO? What effect would seeing what they are seeing have on your ability to support them with useful insights that develop and improve your sales process?

6) Prepare to have a conversation. How often do you think about the five core challenges of your clients and the five core results you’ve created in relation to these challenges? Clarity in these areas can give you a starting point for your conversation, engaging with their core challenges and ask them about their experience of these. Your conversations become stimulating and memorable events for your clients.

How many of these are you using? I’d be pleased to hear from you. follow me @JohnDScarrott

This article first appeared in The Drum Network magazine April 2016

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