Political analysts say that the 2nd presidential debate was the best in history. Why? Was it because they actually confronted each other? Got in each other's face? Went toe-to-toe? Maybe. The analysts also have been saying that most people had long ago decided which candidate they liked and the race is really about persuading the uncommitted voters. This means that if you are pro-Obama, then you rooted for Joe Biden and loved his passionate performance last week. It means that if you are pro-Romney, then you couldn't believe how condescending Biden was and you loved Ryan's steadiness and calm. We root for the people we love! From that perspective, it's very much like rooting for your favorite sports teams. For better or worse, they're your team and you'll support them through thick and thin.
Hold on to that thought as we transition to sales.
Let's discuss sales presentations. When your salespeople are invited back to be one of several to present capabilities, value propositions and solutions, the exact same scenario as described above is sure to be played out. If the prospect liked you going in, they'll look for opportunities to support your presentation. If the prospect liked your competitor going in, they'll look for opportunities to discredit you in any way they can. That's just how it works and that's why it is so darn important to differentiate yourself up front - earlier in the sales process - instead of hoping to accomplish that during the presentation. Your presentation will certainly differentiate your personal presentation skills, but it won't differentiate your company, value proposition or capabilities.
That's why Consultative Selling is so important. Executed properly, your salespeople will finally differentiate themselves upfront (early) and by the time they present, the prospects will already be on your side. The problem is that you can't say simply that going forward your salespeople shall sell Consultatively. It's a major change. It requires special skills, strengths and disciplines to execute, and it routinely takes 8-12 months of training and coaching to make the complete transition. Further complicating matters is that not all salespeople can make this all-important transition.
One of the questions which Objective Management Group answers, when we evaluate a sales force, is just that. Who from among all of your salespeople are capable of making the transition from presenters and order-takers, to effective, Consultative Sellers. We can answer hundreds of other questions too.
Make the transition. Improve your KPI's. Close more business. Block out your competition. It requires a Consultative Selling methodology and process.