In my opinion a purely tactical executive doesn’t grasp strategy easily. Here is an excellent example. I have an existing client who has just started a brand new magazine. The salespeople find it almost impossible to connect with the advertisers that they want in the magazine. This is a market with more than 80 competing advertising vehicles. So to arise to this challenge, I have changed the names of the salespeople so that their titles are less threatening. We assigned them titles like “Director of Corporate Communications.” This allows the salesperson to call a potential prospect and say something like: “Hi. I’m Jennifer, the Director of Corporate Communications here at ABC Magazine. As part of our tireless efforts to continually serve the market, we like to gain knowledge about similar companies in our market. I also interact with the editorial staff here, and I’m always keeping my eyes open for potential stories for our magazine. Tell me, how long has your company been established?” This approach allows the sales staff to gain a strategic accomplishment of gaining solid relationships within the market and getting into conversation that establishes a little rapport. After they build rapport, the salesperson has the ability to softly transition into talking about advertising. ” One of the many things I do for the magazine is check out products or services that our readers enjoy and/or have interest in.” This allows the salesperson to roll into dialogue about advertising and ease their way into what you’re about to gain knowledge of called “educational based marketing,” which is allowing an opportunity to educate candidates. This is an extended, strategic close to the sales process.
We gave them titles like “Director of Corporate Communications.” This enabled the salesperson to call a prospect and say something like: “Hi. I’m Jennifer the Director of Corporate Communications here at XYZ Magazine. As part of our ongoing effort to continually serve the market we like to learn more about other companies in our market. I also interface with the editorial staff here, and I’m always on the look out for potential stories for our magazine. Tell me how long has your company been in business?” This approach enables the sales staff to achieve a strategic objective of establishing solid relationships within the market and getting into discussions that build a little rapport. After they build rapport the salesperson is able to softly segue into talking about advertising. “One of the other things I do for the magazine is look for products or services that our readers be interested in.” This enabled the salesperson to then get into dialogue about advertising and work their way into what you’re about to learn called “educational based marketing,” which is creating an opportunity to educate prospects. This is a long term, strategic approach to the sales process. But here’s the point: A tactical salesperson would say: Why do I want to do all that when all I really want to do is sell them advertising? The strategic executive would understand that this approach would get you into an actual conversation which can build some rapport and interest before trying to immediately sell the prospect an ad. The strategist looks at every challenge as an opportunity to out-think competitive approaches. This will be demonstrated 10 more ways during the upcoming pages. Let’s go deeper. When you or your salespeople get in front of a client, what do you want them to accomplish? What are your strategic objectives? When I ask executives that question, most of them reply tactically, “I want to make a sale.” And then I ask them to think strategically, “What else do you want to achieve?” And they say, “What else is there?” And the conversation goes like this:
Me: Would you like to be reputable? Them: Well, of course I’d like to be reputable.
Me: Would you like to be trusted? Them: Well, of course I’d like to be trusted.
Me: Would you like recommendations? Them: Well, of course I’d like recommendations.
Me: Would you like a preemptive plan for when your competition tries to undercut your pricing? Them: Well, yeah, that’s a great plan.
Me: Would you like to be distinguished as an expert? Them: That could be dear to me, yes.
Me: How about influence, would you like to have influence in that meeting? Them (the tacticians): What does that mean?
Me: Hang with me here a second. How about brand loyalty? Is that important? Them: Heck yes.
Me: What about some urgency to buy now, would that be a logical thing? Them: Yes. That would be great.
If you even think about these objectives, doesn’t it automatically change how that meeting might go? So much of this is left up to the individual salesperson-every time. What if you, as the leader of your company, could devise a way to accomplish all those strategic objectives, and do them every time anyone in your company is in front of a buyer? How much more powerful would you be over your competition?
Author: Chet HolmesThis author has published 2 articles so far.