We are competing every day, working hard for our success and personal satisfaction; what do strategic sells have to do with running a marathon?
Strategic selling involves your ability to communicate your unique value and competitive advantage to an ideal prospect or customer throughout your selling process and the entire relationship journey.
Having marshalled the start of London Marathon having completed three previous marathons many moons ago, I know what it takes to run the course. There are many comparisons between running the marathon and securing, maintaining and growing profitable long-term relationship into a strategic sells partnership. Here are Six Strategic sells takeaways that align with running a marathon:
- Starts with Motivation
Your team is not motivated by what they already know, but they are driven by new possibilities that stretch and excite them. As with preparing and training for a marathon, tapping into your personal reservoir of motivation is a voyage of discovery. Discovering the unique strengths and beliefs that will engage buyers. Understand the customer’s perspective and the underlying environmental drivers those that you can and cannot control. Scale Your Sales Motivation enables your sales team with new insight, knowledge and the confidence to stretch to the challenges. Scale Your Sales increases team motivation, morale, and confidence to run the race.
- Every Journey is Personal
No two runners are the same as not two buyers are the same. Even in business to business it is about developing people to people relationships, so drop the competitive corporate persona and understand your personal strength and uniqueness, understanding how your body works, all these are the things that make you, uniquely you. You must develop your unique running style and pace before you can successfully run the marathon with others in your team. If you start with the stable foundations, then you have a lot to gain over the long term. Do not rush relationship building or skip the research and planning. Like a marathon the more you invest in the training leading up to the event the easier the long run.
- Be Honest – You Cannot Cheat the Process
Sell without selling – by attaching the right fit buyers and engaging them enough, so they want to buy from you. Buyers buy you before they buy your product or company. Be real, build a professional, friendly perspective by getting to know who your customer is and understand what they need and want by asking open and pointed questions.
Always be honest giving a balanced view of how your product compares to your competitors, pointing out the risks and limitations. Build trust offering your customers a variety of options from which to choose. Share a personal story of your experience with a similar problem, stating how you were able to solve the specific problem your product and the customer results. Dishonest always gets found out, similarly, if you kid yourself that you can run a marathon and cheat on the training, you will only do more harm than good.
- You Are Not in Control of the Conditions
Buyers do not buy in your time they do what suits them. Strategic selling is about positioning, being in the right place at the right time. Having the relationship so when the buyer is ready, you become their go-to person. It takes tenacity to stay the course and the long-term not to jump the gun and get a false start and possible disqualification. Look within your organisation for the unique brand factors that build a competitive advantage before looking externally to define your brand’s qualities. Seek to understand what your company uniquely brings to the marketplace, as you would survey the 26.1mile marathon route.
This process will take commitment, rigour and dedication beyond just the physical and mental toll. The London marathon day was the hottest on record, you are not always in control of the conditions, however, you must do all you can to prepare.
- What’s Your Why?
The company existence because you sell, it is not to be taken for granted. Neither is your personal fitness to run the course. It requires a level of time commitment and investment in new skills; sometimes this requires a willingness not to give up surviving the longevity of your race. Knowing your personal “why” you are doing it is bigger than the race, and the company. What is it that drives you? When you know this, it is easier to stay the marathon or business course, through the many challenges. You may have a personal goal or a family ambition, whatever inspires you, find your driver and run toward my dreams. Every rigour needs a reason why, or purpose, for what you do, that is greater than money or profit. It may be professional such as ‘What becomes possible for your customers and clients because you exist?’ or personal ‘What difference are you able to make to your family or community because you exist?’
- Sales is a Team Sport
You cannot do it alone, many people who have trod your path, use their experience. Ask your sales leader for help or get a mentor, trainer or consultant who can give you the guidance you need to succeed. Mentorship, networking and partnership are vital to any growth journey. You must be willing to invest in yourself and your skill to learn from those who have travelled before you.
Scale Your Sales consultancy and training, helps companies to develop comprehensive sales strategies in complex B2B selling scenarios. Scale Your Sales is a practical, repeatable bespoke sales process that helps simplify complexity to make them more profitable. The goal of strategic sales is to equip sales professionals with the information, to allow them to make the right decisions regarding developing relationships and creating opportunities. Sales professionals must focus their time and energy on their ideal prospects most likely to become profitable and grow long-term customers into partnerships.