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Helping Your Customers Get Used to The Big Idea

Helping Your Customers Get Used to The Big Idea
August 09, 2018

Top performing sales teams have two, important qualities.


How do you help your sales team develop patience and persistence?


Without these traits, your salespeople are more likely to give up and go home - empty handed.


Your team could be missing out on big opportunities because they don’t have the confidence to stick to their guns. Instead of persisting when their customers don’t buy into ideas straight away, they quickly move on to the next ‘more likely’ sale.


In business, we’re all selling ‘the big idea’.


But like anything worth doing, these things can take time.


Travelling Scotland with Allison McCain: Are We There Yet?


Allison McCain is the chairman of McCain Foods, the Canadian Global company who reported sales of $CAN 8.5b in 2017.


When I knew him, Allison was the CEO of McCain GB.


He was a great believer in what he called ‘managing by wandering about’.


Every year, Allison would come to Scotland and spend a couple of days with me (I was the Scottish Regional Manager for McCain). We would travel around the country visiting various sites and spending time with our customers.


When I picked him up from the airport he always asked me the same two questions:


“Who are we go to see?” and “How can I help you today?”


As you can imagine, a day with Allison was both inspiring and educational. He was a relaxed but extremely insightful man, with a track record that still outshines most salespeople today. Very little got past him. And he taught me so much on those visits.


During one particular trip with Allison, I had a big potential customer planned into the day. I was delighted that Allison was going to be there because it would show the customer just how much we valued their business. I explained to him that I’d been working on the customer for some time and that the objective of this meeting was to persuade them to ditch our competition and buy from McCain 100%.


Anyway, the meeting did not go well and we did not get the deal. I was despondent. But Allison was not. He consoled me by saying a very wise thing,


“Sandy, sometimes it takes a while for someone to get used to a big idea. Maybe they’re not there yet.”


People don’t always buy into new things (products, services, even fads) straight away. Often, this is even truer of products and services that could drastically change the way they live and work. The internet itself is a great example of an apparently harebrained idea that didn’t immediately catch on. In fact, one of the early proponents of the World Wide Web was nicknamed ‘Mr Internet’ by his scoffing contemporaries.


But with big ideas come big opportunities. And that’s what every sale is about.


We didn’t get the business, in the end. But I never forgot Allison’s wise words. On many occasions since, I have won new contracts by keeping my eye on the prize and giving my customers the time they need to ‘get used to the big idea’.


How to Help Your Sales Team Sell ‘The Big Idea’


As a sales team leader, the time you spend with your team is crucial.


The first question is:


Do your salespeople really understand themselves and their customers?


If the answer is no, start your training by taking things back to basics. Refresh your team’s sales knowledge and make sure they have the practical selling skills they need to interact confidently with customers.


Next, help your team to build their commercial awareness so that they realise why it sometimes takes a long time (sometimes a very long time) to get the sale with a customer. On this understanding, they can start to build the confidence they need to be patient when pitching for bigger business.


Train your sales team to keep their eyes on the prize and not to get distracted or despondent if their customers don’t buy in right away.


Gaining the trust of your customer’s doesn’t come easily. And the higher the stakes, the more difficult it becomes to win that trust. But if you want to secure those big accounts and the business of higher paying customers, your salespeople need the confidence to be patient and persistent.


Want to help your sales team win more business and secure bigger accounts? Then help them understand what patience and persistence means in sales. Get started with a Sales Knowledge session or if you’re ready, jump straight with a tailored Commercial Awareness training session. Contact Sandy to have a chat about improving your sales team’s performance.


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