A couple of years ago, I was involved in a major rebranding effort for a Fortune 100 financial services firm. Based on extensive research, their chief marketing officer decided their new brand positioning should be focused on "easier."
Easier to do business with. Easier to conduct banking transactions. Easier to get a mortgage, car loan, or business investment from.
Sounds great, right? Problem is they weren't easy to do business with.
I knew, because I happened to be a client of the firm. When I walked in to do a simple thing like get a new debit card, I was told the process could take up to three weeks—and I'd have to give them my old card first, meaning I'd have to spend three weeks without any access to my accounts.
Unfortunately, this situation isn't all that uncommon in business. Many firms I know make their customers—existing and new—jump through endless hoops to do business with them. Just think about your average bank. Insurance firm. Car dealership. Phone company. Utility provider.
Maybe you work for one of those firms. Maybe it frustrates you. Maybe you're sitting there right now saying, "I know. This happens to me, as well. Every time I am close to making a sale, ____ gets in the way."
As sellers, there is a lot we can do to make our clients' lives easier. If you do, it'll instantly set you apart from your competitors in a way that is extremely meaningful to buyers.
In the research we did for our new book, Insight Selling, we found that sales winners—those who win far more than their average share of deals—collaborate with buyers in two key ways.
Second, they stand out by how they sell. Sales winners are more responsive, more proactive, and easier to buy from than second-place finishers.
In practice, most sales winners do five things differently (and better) in terms of making sure it's easy to buy from them.
- They are accessible
Sales winners make it easy to reach out, connect, and start a dialogue. From publishing their contact details on their LinkedIn profile to proactively reaching out to targeted prospects, they're always open to striking up new conversations to see what value they can add and what options they can explore.
- They are responsive
Sales winners are quick to respond to inquiries from new and existing customers alike. They take less time to respond to inbound leads and inquiries, turn around proposals faster, and get to proposals quicker.
This significantly cuts their sales cycles and gives them an early mover advantage over their competitors. And it makes it easy to deal with them—and buy from them.
- They cut out complexity
As a buyer, the last thing you want is to make things even more complicated. Yes, I know there are several dozen configurations that could be right. Three service levels to choose from. And nine different packages that "could be right for me."
But, as a buyer, I want you to tell me which one is right. Or at least help me narrow down my options to a manageable few (while avoiding costly mistakes).
Sales winners collaborate with buyers to develop the best solutions. They ask great questions, test potential scenarios, and in the end give buyers a manageable number of options to choose from—often along with a recommendation of which one is right for them.
- They drive the sale forward
Just in case this wasn't clear: as the seller, it's your job to drive the sales process forward. Because if you don't, nobody else will.
Not in a pushy way, mind you. Simply by ensuring that each step has a logical next one, all the while maintaining momentum and ensuring you work towards a timely and logical conclusion of the sale (which will hopefully include buying, and buying from you).
And you'll be doing your buyer a favor too, because they'll appreciate someone being on top of things, moving them forward, and holding them (a little) accountable for doing what's needed to move things along.
- They help buyers say "yes"
Great sellers don’t have hang ups about asking for a decision when the time has come. There's a logical point in the sales process where the only thing left to do is make a decision. Many sellers are afraid to ask their buyers for a clear yes (or no) when that time has come.
Not sales winners. They ask for a decision when the time is right (typically right after they ask, "Any more questions?"), making it easy for the buyer to say "yes" and move forward.
Sales winners make it easy to find them and connect. They are quick to respond, and go through a step-by-step process designed to help their buyers narrow things down and make the right decision. They maintain forward momentum throughout the sales process, and—when the time is right—ask for the buyer's final decision.
Now how easy is that?