It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Selling and today’s guest is from Mike Schultz – Enjoy!
Selling at a small business isn’t easy. The bigger companies have brands that help them open new doors and win competitive sales. They have strong marketing support. And often they have deep pockets and aren’t afraid to use them.
However, small businesses can leverage an advantage that is more powerful than any of these.
This advantage? The power of ideas.
It may sound corny, but it’s true. Harnessing the power of ideas is a huge advantage for many small businesses. That is, if they’re willing to do it. How do we know?
We surveyed over 700 buyers of B2B products and services who were responsible for $3.1 billion in annual purchases. We asked them what factors most influenced their decision to choose one provider over another
Of the 42 factors we studied, two rose to the top as the ones that most separate the sales winners from the rest. More than company size, location, and experience, buyers are awarding their business to sellers who do the following two things:
1. Educate with New Ideas and Perspectives
Sellers who win introduce buyers to ideas they need to know about. Often times, the new ideas are in the form of things the buyer should be doing or buying, but isn’t, because they don’t even know they exist or are important. The seller must bring it up for the buyer to consider it. We call this opportunity insight.
Now, I’m not saying go straight to the pitch to sell your amazing idea—there’s a rhythm to how to get there—but fundamentally sellers need to get the passionate beliefs they have in their heads into buyers’ heads.
Those who do win more sales.
2. Collaborate with Buyers
Take a look at common ‘big vs. small’ sales messaging.
Big companies say, “We have the experience, the background, the history, and the bench strength to serve you. If you want to work with a leader, work with us!”
Small companies say, “You’ll be just a number to big companies. Look, you could argue whether their products and services are better. But what you’ll get from us is service. Thinking. Focus. Energy. We’ll be a collaborative partner in helping you succeed. The big companies just don’t do this.”
Guess what? Buyers actually value this kind of collaboration. When buyers perceive that sellers collaborate with them in the selling process, they win sales. This makes the small business positioning a good one…that is, if sellers at small businesses demonstrate collaboration during the selling process itself. When they do, they win.
Sellers can collaborate in a number of ways, including asking disruptive questions, pushing buyers out of their comfort zones, and encouraging them to think differently. We call this kind of intense collaboration interaction insight. When this happens, buyers often come to new insights on their own with the seller guiding them. The seller doesn’t just need to bring ideas (opportunity insight), they can also spark ideas through how they lead their conversations.
There’s more to the research, but it all comes down to one thing: insight. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a big company or a small one, if you want to win more sales, you too should harness the power of ideas.
In our new book, Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently we teach you how to do it. And if you order by May 10, you’ll receive an exclusive expert interview series on what it takes to succeed in sales today with John Jantsch, Jill Konrath, Charlie Green, Andrew Sobel, and more. You’ll also be invited to join my Insight Selling co-author, John Doerr, for an exclusive webinar on What it Takes to Become an Insight Seller. Plus, we are donating our portion of the book sales royalties during launch week to the American Heart Association to support congenital heart defect research, which is a cause near and dear to my heart (read chapter 3 to find out why).
Mike Schultz is President of RAIN Group, an industry-leading sales training and consulting company. He helps companies around the world unleash the sales potential of their teams. Mike is bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade and Sell in Any Situation and Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently. He also writes for the RAIN Selling Blog. Follow Mike on Twitter at @mike_schultz