The very best salespeople know the most powerful sales presenters are not themselves but their customers. I’m not talking about a simple referral or introduction; I’m talking about your customers selling to potential customers on your products or services.
You’re thinking, “Wow, that sounds great, but how exactly do I make that happen?” The answer is pretty straightforward, but the execution of this simple principle is extremely difficult. This is why very few salespeople are able to turn their top customers into powerful allies.
The first goal is to do business with well-respected customers in the industry who have spheres of influence over their peers or, at the very least, are viewed as highly successful professionals. You may already be doing business with such people, but you either have not “wowed” your customers or have never leveraged these relationships to expand your business. The key is to prove to these influential customers that your products or services work as advertised. If you’re able to prove the return on investment (ROI) you promised your customers when you sold them on your services/products, you then can earn the right to ask your clients to set up meetings for you. If you’ve stayed in contact with your customers throughout the process, making sure that what was sold is working for their organizations and that the returns you forecast are exceeding expectations, you’re on the right track.
Fulfill Your Promises
A common mistake occurs when you promise too much in an effort to simply make the sale.
Customers may even realize you’re overcommitting but feel if they get half the returns you discussed in your initial presentation, their company will still win. You make the sale, but as you follow up with your client throughout the sales process, you may even hear that everything is going well. While a customer may be happy with the purchasing decision, the returns simply are not what was expected or promised. When this occurs, you just traded away the potential of multiple deals for a single sale.
You must make sure that what is presented and sold can easily produce the results that customers are looking for, so you are able to meet their expectations without any problems. If everything goes as planned, you can pleasantly surprise your customers by surpassing their expectations, thus achieving the much needed wow factor.
You will find that when you excel beyond your customers’ expectations, you will have extremely happy customers who are ready to let their peers know of the wise decisions they made that are saving their companies, facilities, or institutions money.
Expand Your Network
You are now able to ask your extremely happy customers if they could set up a lunch with one of their counterparts in the industry, where the two of you can talk to the potential new customers about your recent success. Your original customers — the industry leaders — will typically be happy to explain how they orchestrated deals that are now making them even more successful and how they’re experiencing even greater productivity and/or better ROI. The key is to let your customer call their contacts to set up the meeting, not you.
Your customers will presell your services/products on the phone with the new potential clients long before you even set the table for a successful meeting.
I used to take pictures of installations to show what wonderful work we were able to do and follow up by presenting the breakdown of how the ROI was ultimately achieved. If your customer has ROI data, it’s much better to ask if they wouldn’t mind bringing it to the lunch to review with your prospective new client. The paradigm that exists in almost all sales processes is to ask questions and let your customer talk. This is doubly important and true if you are having lunch with two customers who know and respect each other. It’s wise to let your customers sell for you — after all, they’re the ones with all the credibility and trust. Your customers can have a greater impact in a short period of time than you can over many appointments. You just need to get out of the way and let them work it out. The customers can explain in detail why they chose your company and what has worked so well for them.
You just need to be prepared like you were when you made your original presentation with your first customer. You simply slide over documents as the customer is describing how and why he or she made his or her decision. If your customer doesn’t need the document, push it aside and let him or her keep going.
If, on the other hand, they use the handouts, follow along, and when the next point is made, pass along the next hand out. If you turn your customers into salespeople, you will close more sales at higher margins. You’ll have a greater appreciation for the sales process and enjoy the accolades that will get heaped upon you for doing such a fine job for your original customer. The best part of sales is making people happy and giving them what they both need and want. This process allows you to enjoy the finer aspects of the sale.
Good luck and happy selling.
Publication date: 11/19/18