5 ways to have more business focused sales conversations
In order to sell high value solutions to top level execs, we can no longer just talk about needs and product specifications. These prospects expect informed, intelligent and consultative salespeople who will not only find them a great solution, but connect and challenge them with up-to-date industry insight.
Here are the top 5 things you can do with your team to help them understand the main priorities of their business contacts, understand how they think and ultimately give your team the confidence to have meaningful business conversations with these customers.
1. Get your team interested in business
One of the first steps you can take is to get them interested in business. At Natural Training, we regularly run Business Acumen training sessions with the whole company, including sales and client services. We take some time out of the day to get everyone focusing on business and developing their business acumen. We encourage you to set aside some time to focus on increasing your business acumen.
2. Look at financials
Start by talking about how the financials of business work. It’s amazing how many people have no idea what a P&L or balance sheet is. And you’ll be equally amazed at how much of an interest they show in it! It feels like smoke and mirrors to so many people, and if you can show them the basics and how it’s actually quite straightforward, it gets them interested.
This will open up a whole new world as to how your solutions can save the customer time and money in other areas, ultimately allowing your team to sell more on total value and less on price.
3. Deep dive into your prospects’ job roles
Then move on to the job roles of the people in your target industries. Pick out the key decision makers your team meet with. Think about the stresses and strains on their time. What motivates them? What is going to get them promoted or make their life easier?
For example, the three below have very different priorities (and even these may change depending on the company):
- Managing Director: Vision, strategy, culture / Senior team functioning/ Overall performance
- Finance director: Cash flow and liquidity/ Financial accounts / Financial reporting and compliance
- Sales Director: Revenue / Margins / Recruitment and training
Ask your team what key questions they would ask to find needs in these areas. Ask them what insight they could deliver to these different job roles to gain status and expertise in a meeting.
4. Look at recent business articles
Next move onto looking at the most recent business pages. Give everyone some time to pick out any articles that mention existing clients or prospects, or any stories that are relevant to your industry. Encourage your team to do this regularly, long after the initial session, and to send any findings through to the relevant prospective client.
At Natural we run a half hour lunchtime session once a week, where we pore over the business papers looking for articles relevant to clients and their industries. We search online too, and post any articles we find to a WhatsApp group so everyone sees them. It keeps the learning fresh and is a great opportunity for the whole team to get together and share insights. Pizza is provided as an extra incentive!
5. Activate their business acumen
Finally, get them together for an exercise to really put this into practice.
Working in groups, ask them to pick a company and two exec-level roles to work with. Ask them to find an interesting article related to that company and practice speaking to their exec, using their insight to gather information:
“I noticed that………. With that in mind……..?”
As always, make it natural! We want you to find the words that feel comfortable when you say them, so if they don’t feel right… change them for something that does! Listen to a few from the different groups, share and feedback.
In summary, providing business insights are the business conversations of the future. Doing this exercise on a regular basis will set the foundations for a long-term interest in business and will help anyone at your company to be comfortable having those business led discussions in future. They will gain credibility and trust within their network, ultimately allowing you to close bigger, more profitable deals.
If you’d like to talk to us about how we can provide business acumen training for your teams, we’d love to hear from you. We include business acumen training as an optional module within our Natural LIVE telesales training.
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