There are many approaches to selling. To me, this is the best and the most satisfying: Help your business partner to achieve their goals:

„For a culture that spends so much time and money buying things, you’d think we’d be more excited when someone tries to sell us something. But we’re not. The semantics are important here. What we really mean is, „are you trying to selfishly persuade me to buy something that will benefit you more than it benefits me?“

… The magic happens when the goals are aligned, when the service component of sales kicks in, when long-term satisfaction exceeds short-term urgency. When someone acts in a way that says, „can I help you buy something?“ or, „can I help you achieve your goals?“ then we’re on our way. And of course, it’s the doing, not the saying that matters the most.“ (Seth Godin, post on Dec. 21, 2017)

Happy Holidays!

 

In B2B, products and services are not always self-explanatory, and this is one reason why many vendors have been slow to make significant investments in online sales channels. They often focus on a qualified salesforce to explain their complex solutions face-to-face to their customers.

But new research by McKinsey indicates that B2B suppliers cannot choose between a great sales force and great digital assets and capabilities. To drive growth, they need both.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Industry sector is not a factor. What determines the channel of choice is whether or not the buyer is making a first-time purchase.
  • The majority of buyers still asks for the expertise of a salesperson when making about first-time purchase decisions.
  • Online functionality will have to meet expectations for speed set in the B2C world. Buyers are frustrated if they cannot complete a repeat-order easily.
  • Be they online or off, B2B buyers want an immediate response. Slow response times are by far the biggest frustration for buyers, bigger even than pricing issues!

Investments in digital assets will indirectly help the sales force meet customer needs, freeing them up from dealing with routine inquiries. So, they can devote time to help customers with more complex needs, as well as seeking out new customers.

Relatively simple tools will help salespeople directly, for instance to track customers’ previous questions and help anticipate needs. Virtual product demonstrations on a tablet will assist in a sale. Customer-segmentation and value-proposition engines help sales representatives build tailored offers in the field that quantify the value for the customer. And as in the online world, advanced analytics can prompt buy recommendations.

MerkenMerken

Getting to Yes

21. Dezember 2016

In January 2016, William Ury, co-author of the most successful book ever on negotiation*, held this inspiring talk at CreativeMornings New York.

„The biggest obstacle we have to getting what we want is ourselves.“

This was one of the best speeches I’ve heard this year, and for me, it is already a „classic“.

As the holidays are coming closer and closer, hopefully bringing calm and relaxation after a challenging final spurt in the last weeks of the year, maybe this is a good occasion to sit back, listen to a good storyteller and to re-think some of our (bad) habits.

* The German version is entitled „Das Harvard-Konzept“.

WO BLEIBT DAS DEUTSCHE TESLA?

25. November 2016

poor-but-sexyArm aber sexy, so ist Berlin. Und so oder ähnlich stehen in Deutschland (wohlgemerkt nicht nur in Berlin) auch viele Start-Ups da: erfolglos und daher arm – aber sexy.

Woran mag es liegen, dass es kaum eine deutsche Neugründung der vergangenen Jahre in die Liga der Unicorns geschafft hat, also der Start-ups, die noch vor dem Börsengang mit über einer Milliarde Dollar bewertet werden?

„Statt immer nur auf das Silicon Valley zu starren, sollten wir die Technologie-Täler Europas mehr beachten.“

Das schreibt Martin Kaelble diese Woche in Capital. Sehr wahr! Auch ich erlebe das immer wieder: potenzielle Investoren, Journalisten, eigentlich alle haben eine „Obsession“ für digitale Geschäftsmodelle. Nur die gelten als „sexy“. Statt auf das Silicon Valley zu starren, sollten wir uns auf unsere Stärken in Deutschland (und Europa) besinnen. Wir sollten diese Stärken weiter ausbauen.

Durchschnittliche Leistungen reichen meist nicht, um sich im harten Wettbewerb durch zu setzen. Die Aussage „wir können das, was alle anderen auch können“ überzeugt niemanden. Dann doch eher „wir stehen seit jeher für …“. Es ist unerlässlich, die eigenen Stärken hervor zu heben und gezielt weiter zu entwickeln, um nicht austauschbar zu werden.

Silent Killers

22. September 2016

It’s been quite a long time, since my last post. I’ve been really busy this summer travelling to Spain, UK and the U.S., and sort of managing growth for our small (but of course very „boutique“) business.

change_directionGrowth, at some point, involves Change. And management of change  is always a real challenge.

Recently I found this really interesting article in Harvard Business Review: It’s title – „Why Leadership Training Fails—and What to Do About It“ – is almost a bit misleading. The most interesting aspect, to me, is how to overcome Barriers to Change.

The three authors identify six barriers, companies consistently struggle with:

(1) unclear direction on strategy and values (which often leads to conflicting priorities)
(2) senior executives who don’t work as a team and haven’t committed to a new direction or acknowledged necessary changes in their own behavior
(3) a top-down or laissez-faire style by the leader (which prevents honest conversation about problems)
(4) a lack of coordination across businesses, functions, or regions due to poor organizational design
(5) inadequate leadership time and attention given to talent issues, and
(6) employees’ fear of telling the senior team about obstacles to the organization’s effectiveness.

Because of that fear, they call these barriers “Silent Killers”. They almost always appear together, and they block the systemic changes needed.

If the system does not change, it will set people up to fail.

Any individual development of employees – individual target setting and performance measurement, team-building, training measures etc. – are doomed to fail if a favorable organisational context is missing. Management practices and leadership behavior needs to shape the system before training individual employees. But read yourself …

 

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