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The Sales Evangelist

Give your prospect an out Sometimes we need to lose a customer before they become a client. In the current climate of a pandemic it’s important that we give a client an out in order to be sensitive to their struggles but we still want them to know we’re open for business, right?  How are these two needs served in the way we communicate?

Jeff Koser is the CEO and the founder of Zebrafi. The company is often known for its top-selling book, Selling to Zebras, seeing the Zebra as the perfect prospect. The company’s philosophy is pretty straightforward. When people see Zebras, regardless of where that might be, they always know what it is. The simplicity and the purity of this fact  is the philosophy behind what keeps their business running. 

Jeff Koser has also built a software business based on software-guided selling. It’s a tool that guides B2B salespeople through the best practices of how to communicate and collaborate with the prospects and customers to ensure both parties arrive at a mutually beneficial place.

Selling in the present situation 

It’s imperative that salespeople be sensitive to the current world situation. Jeff’s sales goal is lofty, as he wants to change the way people sell throughout the world. However, to be able to do that, we first have to recognize who we are as salespeople, what we are as a business, and what we’re selling. Our business may not represent something that is a priority for people right now, and that’s okay, but as we seek to keep our businesses going, we need to diversify our approach. 

Jeff Koser believes that we must approach every sales situation, whether it’s prospects or customers, with language that gives them an out. When you want to keep in touch with your customers or prospects by email, for example, genuinely ask about the safety of their family and their employees. Not just in a way that allows you to check off the “sincerity box” but in a way that your customer knows you are there for THEM. Be respectful about how you reach out to them and acknowledge they may have very different priorities by the time you contact them. Let them know that if the timing is right, you want to help, but regardless the relationship is the priority and you will come alongside their needs on their terms. 

Respectful selling

Jeff recently received 149 email messages in his spam folder within a 24-hour period. Due to automation and account-based marketing, there are several tools that can come with good messaging but unfortunately, even good messages are getting buried just from the sheer volume. There will always be those companies, however, that believe talking about the product at the very beginning of the message is the best way to begin an email.  During a pandemic, when people are struggling, this isn’t the best approach.  Making sensitivity and respect a priority in your communication will preserve the dignity of your business, and your prospect’s. 

Doing otherwise could tarnish your personal brand or that of your company’s.

Despite the volume of spam email Jeff received, he opened a few of the emails with the more interesting subject lines. The most annoying emails came from companies that introduced their products as soon as he opened the message without any reference to the struggles going on in the world that we are in right now. Other emails that were only slightly better began with, “Hope you’re well and healthy…” before launching into the product information. Both approaches are typically ineffective but they’re even more inappropriate in the current climate.

What you can do

To improve their approach, salespeople can do more research. First, they should know if their company fits the priority and needs of their prospects and customers. Jeff Koser recommends salespeople know the following before pursuing contact: 

  • That their product or service can help solve their prospect’s current problems. 
  • They’re talking to the decision makers.
  • How much value needs to be created within the prospect’s timeline. 

Jeff’s current clients take this advice to heart. Some of Jeff’s clients also seek his help because they’re preparing to launch well once this pandemic is over and they want to be able to reposition their businesses to accommodate future needs. One of the things Jeff recommends is to talk with their clients’ customers. Doing this allows them to ask their clients’ customers what problems have been solved by buying their clients’ solutions. 

This method allows them to see their client through the eyes of existing or former customers. The customers’ words are always going to be more powerful than any marketing department. Additional information is gathered by talking to the executives who are the decision makers for the customer solution. 

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Selling to the executives 

In the world of sales, the person with the most power is the one who makes the purchasing decision. Jeff Koser defines power as the people who can buy, even without a budget because they can move the budget around. Even now, if you’re able to convey the value you bring to these power people in a way that positions you as a problem solver, it’s possible to have a thriving business.  

Many salespeople are mistakenly assuming that now is not the time to prospect but the reality is, these decision-makers are stuck at home too. While people are sheltered in their homes, we have an opportunity to reach out. Jeff Koser has clients that they’ve been respectfully reaching out to for months and they are wanting to talk. Why? People are now looking for something positive to do in their day. Many are ready to give back to their customers and the  company partnerships who have treated them well. 

Getting by in time of corona 

Sales is a lot of work, even more so if you add  the goal of talking to your client’s customers. However, it’s worth the effort. Many companies don’t directly work with the power person but they are always there, somewhere behind-the-scenes. Even if  you do meet them and they approve the purchase, the relationship doesn’t usually stay at the power level. Your relationships will be more consistent at the user level, the day-to-day person who is benefiting from the solution directly. 

Research also entails doing a deep dive into the details of the business you want to work with you so have a better understanding of how your product or service can best align with their needs. Without this level of preparation, your contact may go no further than a conference call and this is not your end goal. 

The information from the customers who use your client’s solutions serve as the raw materials for building the rest of the tools to help guide the sales through the software-driven path that Jeff’s company creates for each customer. 

The software guided selling 

Jeff Koser has a new product called Zebra Salesbot for Salesforce. It’s a little button within Salesforce and when you get a hit for a good prospect or  customer, it will look for five more similar companies within that industry. Their current industries include manufacturers of software, high-tech software companies, and services companies. They used federated search to comb the web to load the AI. Jeff Koser’s company has been working on it for several years and now, it’s coming to reality through beta testing. 

Prospecting when the pandemic ends will be another challenge. Jeff and his team have created a talk track and email template to better approach prospects and customers. Always remember  your words will prove that you care and that you’re sensitive to the hardships everyone is going through while letting people know you’re open for business. 

“Why Giving Your Prospects An Out Upfront Will Help You Win In The End” episode resources 

Recognize that sales isn’t about you, it’s about the priorities of your prospects and customers, so make respect a priority when you make contact and allow them to have a way out. Reach out to Jeff Koser via his website.  You can also grab a copy of the ebook Voice of the Zebra by Jeff and Chad Koser.

Sign up for the free beta program for Zebra™ Salesbot for Salesforce. The only requirement for your free 6-month Zebra Salesbot for Salesforce to continue is weekly feedback by responding to this Survey Monkey Survey.

If you are interested in more sales stories, you can talk to Donald directly. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by Crmble, the easy-peasy CRM for Trello that helps you manage your contacts and leads without investing in complicated solutions, sync all your data, manage custom fields, and get powerful reporting on your sales. Try Crmble for free now at www.crmble.com/tse. This course is also brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. It will help them elevate their sales game. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can go and visit www.donaldk4.sg-host.com/closemoredeals also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed, and Produced by Brightseed and Hill.

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About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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