During today’s interview I had the pleasure of speaking with Linda Richardson about her new book, “Changing The Sales Conversation”. Linda is the Founder and Executive Chairwoman of Richardson, a global sales training business. As a recognized leader in the industry, she has won the coveted Stevie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sales Excellence for 2006. In 2007 she was identified by Training Industry, Inc. as one of the “Top 20 Most Influential Training Professionals.”
Linda is credited with the movement to Consultative Selling, which is the cornerstone of Richardson’s methodology. Linda is the author of ten books on selling and sales management, including her most recent work; Perfect Selling, The Sales Success Handbook — 20 Lessons to Open and Close Sales Now, Sales Coaching — Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach and Stop Telling – Start Selling. She teaches sales and management courses at the Wharton Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton Executive Development Center.
Here are some of the major takeaways from our discussion:
Many customers are satisfied with their vendors, however today vendors need to delight or surprise customers. They do this by going above and beyond the call of duty.
The new sales conversation is an extension of consultative selling. Here is a brief history of sales and how Linda feels that sales has evolved:
- 1890: Sales first started.
- 1920: Patterson introduced the concept of featured and benefits and scripts.
- 1970 Consultative selling was introduced by Linda Richardson where customers were the focus. According to Linda, in sales there are two big “C”:
- Present: The buyers have changed because they have access to the internet. By time the buyer is introduced to the sales person, they have gone through a large portion of the sales process. The seller now needs to come prepared to add to what the buyers already know. The key is not abandon customization or consultative selling, the seller just needs to add to what they already know.
The quality of the seller needs to improve because the buyers know more today.
First of 5 Strategies:
The sales person needs to become more educated on the client and industry. They will need to not only know about present needs, but also future needs. The seller will need to be way more prepared.
2. Heat Mapping:
This where all of your futuring comes in play and the seller brings insights that adds to what the buyer knows. This will also help you bring more information.
3. Value Tracking:
Buyers want to learn how things are going to impact their organization and what the outcomes will be. Sellers must be able to provide this information to their buyers.
The organization must have best in class sales practices. They must have phases with best practice activities. For example, these things must take place in order for the deal close.
The seller must be able to provide an emotional connection with the buyer. Sellers sometime overlook this but you must be transparent and show volubility.
“Clients don’t want research but they want insights” – Jerry Bullmore
Research about the client and their industry, blogs they read and social sites they go to. Learn how your clients thinks and then you can bring more value to them.
Connect with Linda
Tired of your same old sales performance? Well, this episode is just for you. Linda Richard is the queen on consultative selling and in today’s episode we talk about how sales people must change the sales conversation in order to find success. You will love it, listen now!