Tom Searcy is the author of the book, Life After the Death of Selling: How to Thrive in the New Era of Sales. He is also co-author of the book, Whale Hunting: How to Land the Big Sales and Transform Your Company. In this episode, Tom and I discuss why small companies think they aren’t able to compete with larger companies for the big sales.
Sales is changing in a big way. The experts say that 25% of the sales reps will be out of a job by 2020. That is unless companies and sales ship don’t change. If you are going to get a big sale, you need a team of experts on the subject matter, with the leadership of an executive who has the sales understanding and perspective.
Smaller companies need to change their mindset; this is the first step in competing with the bigger fish. The smaller businesses think they don’t have the resources, the ability, and the financial resources of the bigger companies. Secondly, smaller companies need to look at their infrastructure. Some of the smaller companies are a little afraid of catching that big piece of business. Smaller companies are self-limiting; you can’t get to the mechanics of landing a piece of business if you don’t overcome the mindset that is setting you back.
The Department of Labor indicates that 22% of the business-to-business jobs are going away between now and 2020. That is a million jobs lost. There is another area in sales, which is actually showing growth. The job called the Lead Me Job. The sales role of going out into the marketplace, working with companies and selling, not asking them what the problem is. It’s those sales people that can walk in and say, “I know who you are and your market place. I know the categories where your problem lies. I have an idea on how to solve that problem for you”.
The difference is going to be in leadership. You know you have an answer for them and it may not be clear initially what that specific solution is going to be, but you know you are inspiring them to follow you.
A leadership role is required, because the term that is coming up more and more is co-creation. Companies need to work with their customers to co-create some value from which they are going to be able to drive the ability to make a decision about which way to go. Co-creation is the banner term for the current model and the go forward model in consultative sales. The nature of the customer is impatience; they are expecting businesses to bring more answers than questions.
There are fewer opportunities to meaningfully engage with prospects these days. Companies need to bring a team of specialists. You really need to be deliberately focused on what is the value you are going to provide during this interaction. Buying processes change the selling processes, not the other way around. Customers are more self-sufficient now. The customer has more control of the information that is out there, and therefore, they are influencing the conversation at a greater rate.
If companies want to maintain relevance to their customers, they have to sell bigger problems. The problems need to move from product, quality, service and price, which are delegated to a lower level decision maker. If you want to get the attention of a Senior Executive, those problems are measured in time, money and risk. Time is not at a level of service; this is about speed to outcome. Money is going to be around the overall organization’s ability to produce profit or reduce costs – not incremental costs. Risk is going to take down the overall effective risk of the organization’s ability to perform and sustain its value over time.
Changing the lens is the first thing smaller businesses need to do. They need to try to figure out what the CEO would want, instead of the lower issues. Look at it through the Senior Exec’s eyes, and talk about the problem, not about your services.
What’s the most powerful sales tool in your arsenal?
Name the one tool or app you use for sales or sales management that you can’t live without.
Who’s your sales role model?
Tom’s dad is his sales role model.
What’s the one book that every sales person should read?
The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker
What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up for a meeting or sales call?
What’s the one question you get asked most frequently by sales people?
How do I get past the person who’s in my way?
What’s the first sales activity you do every day?
Stretching and Meditation