Are Your Salespeople Vendors, Partners or Trusted Advisors?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 @ 11:06 AM

Earlier this week I posted this article about What Customers Expect From Their Salespeople.  The Article was reposted on SalesEdgeOne and Andy Rudin, a sales consultant, took me to task on one of my comments.  

He said, "The ladder you described--vendor to partner to trusted advisor--bothers me because there are no standards or certifications. Agreed that some salespeople are better than others at the critical skills of trust and relationship building. But I'm not sure that using vague terms brings salespeople closer to what customers want. I've been in sales for over 20 years, and I can't tell you with clarity exactly what a 'trusted advisor' is--and I still question whether Trusted Advisor is even possible when a salesperson can make a healthy commission or bonus on a sale."

Thanks Andy!

I don't believe we will ever give out certifications on those terms, but if there are no standards in place today, let's standardize on those terms right here and now.  

Vendor - These salespeople are essentially seen as equal or less than the many companies from whom the customer can purchase a product or service. There is no perceived added value so that purchases always come down to price, availability or timing.  

Partner - Salespeople (and possibly their subject matter expert team) and customers working together to solve customer problems. These salespeople are seen in a different light from from vendors, and may be able to sell at higher margin because of the value and expertise they bring to the table.

Trusted Advisor - The customer/client calls the trusted advisor for advice before doing anything with anybody. In most cases, there is no competition because the Trusted Advisor is firmly entrenched with mutual loyalty, trust, love, respect and appreciation.

If we can agree on the basics for these three sales types, then we should be able to agree that a Partner is preferable to a Vendor and Trusted Advisor is preferable to a Partner.

Now here is what you can do on your end.  Get your salespeople to stop referring to themselves as vendors and salespeople.  How far does that get them when attempting to differentiate from everyone else?

Stay tuned to a future article and I'll write about how you can get your salespeople to sell in such a way as to achieve Partner and Trusted Advisor status.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales posturing, achieving trusted advisor status, andy rudin, sales development

Top 10 Reasons Consultative Sellers Outsell Everyone Else

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Oct 01, 2010 @ 13:10 PM

trustedYesterday I wrote about the Importance of the Relationship to the Sales Outcome.  I was asked to talk more about how the elite (top 6%) salespeople develop that kind (late-stage in the early stage) of relationship.

Have you ever worked with salespeople that were so bad you thought, "She couldn't close a door!"?  And have you ever worked with salespeople that were so good that you thought, "She could sell white to rice!"?

There's a good chance that the difference has less to do with their closing skills and much more to do with their ability to build a late stage relationship in the earliest stage of the sales process - the first meeting.

So what do they do?  Here are the top ten things they do:

  1. They learn about their prospect, not only from a business perspective, but a personal one too
  2. They ask lots of questions -not from a list of 50 questions -by going wider and deeper with the responses they get from the prior questions
  3. They share a little about themselves - no life stories, no company histories - by empathizing with something they heard about
  4. They ask the really tough questions - the ones nobody else dares to ask - that differentiate them from everyone else
  5. They walk rather than run from 1st to 2nd base (Baseline Selling Sales Process)
  6. They get their prospects to share their feelings about the issues being discussed
  7. They gain their prospects' trust gradually over the course of their discussion
  8. They are credible - they don't talk badly about their competition and they don't oversell themselves
  9. They make it all about their prospects
  10. Their posture includes the roles of humble expert, caring friend, and helpful advisor

Now I'll ask yesterday's question again - how do your salespeople stack up?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management, Sales Coaching, Sales Force, sales posturing, Closing Sales, sales tips, salespeople

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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