How can we keep our approach to selling fresh, especially when we’ve been been involved in the same market for some time? It’s a real challenge for many of us. We know the product, we know the market, we know the competition, we know our customers. It’s all become routine. We’re on top of our game and there is very little challenge anymore. But that is where we can be so wrong.
Just imagine we were coming into the market for the first time with a fresh perspective. What questions would we ask? Here are a few examples and as you read them consider if you know the answers to them for your customers:
- What are your customers’ current strategies for achieving their obectives?
- What plans do they have for the next 6 to 12 months?
- How do they see the market developing?
- What changes are they planning for?
- Which competitors do they most admire?
- What do your key customers most value about what you do?
- What would your customers most like to see in your service in the future?
- How could the service from your customers’ suppliers be improved?
And there are many more questions. If you know the answers then that’s fantastic. If you don’t, how do you feel about a fresh new sales person going into your customers and asking these questions? What could they do with the knowledge they may gain?
One aspect of being in a market or role for some time is that we tend to stop being so curious and start to make assumptions. One way of refreshing our approach is to look again at our market and ask our customers the kind of questions we would if we were new to the job. A good way to do this is to pair up with a colleague, perhaps from a different geographical area, and to quiz each other about our customers, market and competitors. We go through each customer and our colleague questions us rigourously about what we know, what we’re assuming and what we don’t know.
By doing this we soon discover we are not quite as knowledgeable as we thought we were. And in the process it can reinvigorate our approach and improve our motivation to get out there and find the answers to the questions we couldn’t answer. Finding out new things about a customer we have known for some time is refreshing and can give us a new boost for the role.
Better to do this than for that fresh new sales person to do so. 8)