No touchy-feely baloney here, but a sales rep’s self-image is really important. It’s the context of literally every contact he or she has with customers, prospects, colleagues and partners.
The Product Expert has a matching self-image and gets locked into feature/benefit discussions, typically with lower level influencers. More significantly, is getting locked out of discussions with high lever influencers and decision makers. They folks don’t want to know how to build a watch, they want to know what time it is.
The Solution Seller also has a matching self-image and spends each day looking for the the right kind of problem. Or worse, bending, twisting, torturing and stuffing every problem into a box the solution can solve. This rep can quickly become an annoying pest.
The Consultative Sales Rep has taken a massive step in the right direction. When a rep’s opinion is sought out, credibility and respect have most certainty been earned. But what if there’s not a problem to solve or challenge to overcome? Nope, don’t’ need any consulting today…
Ditto for Trusted Advisor.
I’m a huge fan of the Challenger selling approach. IMHO, it’s the best stuff out there to help a sales professional get to the “next level.”
But I know there’s more…
There’s always a way to get just a bit better. When I stand up on the Challenger Seller’s Shoulders, I get a glimpse of something.
I see a sales rep sitting in on every meeting of another organization’s senior management team meetings.
That’s someone who has “earned a seat at the table.” Someone who has become an “External Executive.” The CEO and all the members of this top-tier peer group genuinely want, listen to and seek out the perspective of this individual on all matters great and small. On the problems. On the challenges. On the opportunities. On everything.
Do the members of your sales team have this External Executive self-image? Do they think like a general business manager? Do they crave that status? Are they working a documented plan to acquire the knowledge, skills and experience to become a respected senior management team member?