Extract from my book entitled
Steps to WIN in the Conference, Meetings & Event Market.
I have modified this to suit any industry. If you want to be positioned as a trusted advisor or consultant instead of a salesperson - read on...
Like a tree needs roots, a skyscraper needs a solid foundation. To lay the most stable foundation possible for your skyscraper you have to build on bedrock. Buyers make their decisions based on solid foundations, proof, and trust.
Building these solid foundations takes a focus on two levels:
- Building your Trust Factor: the right levels of trust and confidence with a potential buyer.
- Building the right tools to help you attract more of the right buyers.
Selling in the post-pandemic world makes these sales skills and tools even more important to get right.
1. The Trust Factor
Having been a buyer for 10 years, I noticed a number of factors about the way salespeople sell to the client. Not building trust and confidence in the right way is the really big one.
Trust is the necessary link between a sale and no sale, between how much or how little your client or your next best client spends with you. (That is a great phrase I heard from someone, I just can’t remember who said it, forgive me if it was you.)
When a buyer chooses to work with you, they are effectively giving you, their reputation. They are placing their reputation and that of their brand, in your hands. Brands cost hundreds of thousands to build. Reputations take years to build. A wrong partner choice can do un-repairable damage to both reputations and brands (notice I use the word partner, not supplier!). This fear of a loss of reputation or brand damage is always there. The buyer may never verbalise it, but it is always there.
What salespeople must do is build in these emotions of trust and confidence into the whole sales process. This helps to overcome this fear and get the client to the next phase of their decision-making process.
Trust is the foundation on which your new success in attracting & converting more business is based upon.
In this book, I will show you how to build in trust to each stage of the client’s decision-making process – your sales process. I have learned through teaching this process since 2013 that taking the time to do things right, to build your foundations strong, then implementing my process step by step…will ultimately help you to get there quicker.
2. The Right Tools to attract the Right Buyers.
What most sales tools are lacking is that built-in trust factor. I will show you how to design “Tools of Trust” in this book. These are sales tools that help you to WIN more often and feel in control as you walk with the client through their decision-making journey.
Your Sales Toolkit is one of the places where Buyers start in their process of deciding on who to work with. You have to get on the list that they will engage with, request a proposal from and start a conversation with.
Selling in a post-pandemic world involves earning the trust, time, and presence of mind of Buyers – 3 things that are harder to achieve now that Buyers are multitasking even more than before.
To get on this “list”, we go back to the bedrock and build from there. That is creating the right Pitch, Proposal, Webpage and Sales & Marketing resources that are going to build trust, confidence, and your credibility as the right choice for their needs.
The 7 Ps to help you WIN:
There are 7 Ps involved in building your rock-solid sales tools. The kind of toolkit that will ensure you attract the right clients and build a level of trust with them so that they are easier to convert. When you are attracting the right clients, you are in a position to have better quality conversations, conversations that lead to better relationships, relationships that will drive revenue.
This is why all sales and lead conversion systems must start at the very source of the decision-making process. The most common reason that business is lost at more advanced stages of the sales process is because mistakes were made at the beginning of the sales process. At these early stages of the sales cycle, you should be captivating the potential client and gently pulling them closer.
Have you ever felt really confident you had won a piece of business? You were waiting for the confirmation email or phone call to give the go ahead. Then you heard you lost the business… It’s devastating.
It took me a while to realize the reason why business is lost at this late stage is because a “YES” was not got at each step of the client’s decision-making process. At the early steps, something didn’t sit right with the client, but they allowed you through the different steps – perhaps because of their procurement process having to get 3 quotes, perhaps because they wanted to give you a chance. Either way, you lost, and this is why.
The client goes through different steps in their decision-making process – the more YES’s you get at each step of their buying process; the more likely you are to convert the sale.
I will break down each step of this buying process and show you how to align your sales process with how the Buyer makes decisions. Aligning how you sell with how the Buyer buys will be a key component in dramatically increasing your conversion rate.
It’s a lot more time efficient and profitable to get the client off to a strong start – loving your company, product, or service from the moment they interact with you. On the very first step of their buying process.
You want to get to “YES” at each step of the sales process and keep moving them through each step of their decision- making process with a YES. This is key to your conversion success.
Strategy gives you direction, but the right tools help you get there quicker.
The Steps to WIN™ Toolkit is made up of tools that ensure you are doing the basics brilliantly (the 7 Ps below). These are the basics that help you to gently pull in and attract the right clients. It makes life easy when you have the right tools for the job.
To quote Chris Brogan who specializes in helping entrepreneurs build a better business quicker, “every company is looking for the edge - what’s going to help separate them from their competitors. Well guess what, doing the basics right is the edge”. I do agree with him. It isn’t complicated. When I ask Buyers what frustrates them about looking for a new supplier, one or several the following 7 Ps always come up.
These are the 7 Ps, that when built right, will ensure you are doing the basics brilliantly. Let’s examine them briefly here and I will elaborate on them in more detail as you read through the book.
The 7 Ps:
1. The Power Pitch & Position – what you say to make the client interested in you, it’s not about trying to close the deal. Key is to open the conversation.
2. The Page – The experience they have on your website.
3. The Promise - Marketing Resources, Brilliant Brochures that clearly show how you can help them.
4. Proposals that WIN! There is a structure, level of personalization and WOW factor that I teach.
5. Being Personal. It must feel like it was created just for them and that you really “get” their business, their problems, and the results they want you to help them achieve.
6. Passion & Personality – if you are not passionate about your business, why should they be?
7. Plan & just do it! You must schedule time in your calendar – just like a client appointment to get this work done. Otherwise, you will have the same problem in 6 months time.
Partner Vs Supplier
Position yourself as a partner instead of being a supplier; it’s a lot more lucrative.
Gaining the Buyers trust and confidence positions you as their partner instead of their supplier. Being a partner helps you convert business more quickly and at a higher price point. In short, it is your fast track to more profitable business.
I teach how to gain trust during my online or in-person workshops around the world. It is powerful when the whole team speaks about the business in the same way.
The way you position your business is based on how you develop your pitch and the conversation you have with Buyers. Working on your pitch is pivotal to creating a relationship that will transform your position with the Buyer from supplier to partner.
A big mistake I see salespeople make is “pitching” too early in the client’s decision-making process. Asking the right questions and deeply listening is a key skill to master here. In my virtual sales skills’ programs, I teach a technique called “Killer Questions” that enables you to lead a high converting client conversation. These are conversations that are strategic and position you as a partner and trusted advisor, not a supplier. It is Step 2 of the Steps to WIN™ process.
These questions are what made the difference in my conversations with Buyers when I was a Venue Finder sourcing business worth millions for multinational corporations. By immediately demonstrating that I understood their world, I gained a Buyers trust quickly. I got more of their business by standing out from my competition in this way.
A breakthrough of this kind in your pitch will help you articulate your position in a way that Buyers understand. It will make them sit up and be interested in you. They will know that you are speaking their language and really “get them”. This approach will help them know that these are the results they want to get from working with you or your company and you are the only person to help them achieve that.
How the Buyer Buys
Neil O’Brien, a wonderful Irish Executive Coach and Author of Time to Fly said this “People underestimate the power of doing the basics brilliantly”. It is so true. I see it time and time again when I examine a company’s sales process. When the basics aren’t strong it makes a Buyer doubt your ability to deliver advanced moves.
My steps are like a building block system. Built together, step by step, these steps will help you to align your sales process to the buying process of the client. This is my Steps to WIN ™ Process.
When you nail each area of these steps, everything just starts to come together beautifully. Magic happens and you are working in the profit zone; building relationships that drive revenue. That is my goal for you.
This is the 7 Steps to WIN™ system I designed to help you attract, convert, and WIN a lot more business.
I share steps 1 and 3 in first section of the book. I do a deep dive on Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 in my online courses.
Getting Step 1 right is the foundation of your new approach to the market. It is vital to spend time thinking about this; creating your unique pitch will reap dividends time and time again. Especially when pitching in the virtual world.
What worked in-person, won't work online.
But that is the topic for another chapter.
Bear in mind the rest of the steps in the system just don’t work in a powerful way if you do not spend time to get Step 1 right.
This book was originally written for the Hospitality and Events Market – however, every principle will apply to sales in the B2B market. If you want to WIN more often by building relationships that WIN business, then you too will get something from this book.
Want to get the edge by being on my reading list?
I am currently re-writing the book to ensure it works for sales pros that want to be a partner, rather than a supplier – in any industry. My new book is called “Steps to WIN More Often” and it is coming soon! 😊
Register your interest here and I’ll let you know when it is ready for you to read.
"After reading this book you will know how to sell more. Ciara clearly walks you through how to build trust and confidence with the buyer, so that they want to do business with you."
- Andy Dolce, Owner Operator, Dolce Hotels & resorts. Voted one of the 25 most influential executives in the Meetings Industry