A while back I was asked by Donald, a CEO I advise, for my top best practice on increasing revenues generated by his sales team. I told him what I tell all my clients: the most effective way to sell more is by doing less selling. I could tell by his expression this was not the answer he expected, and he confirmed this when he asked me to explain.
His staffing and RPO company, like many organizations, was engaging buyers in a selling experience. They used a number of the traditional techniques: feature-benefit selling, employing trial closes, and controlling the conversation. His sales team was quite good. They continually outpaced the market, growing two or more times faster than the competition. Yet, when surveyed, buyers admitted they were merely tolerating the sales approach by his team. When asked what would make their experience better, they indicated that they liked to buy, but hated to be sold.
This is true of all buyers. Which, by the way, is why we refer to them as buyers (instead of something like “sellees”). Buyers enjoy acquiring things, be it products or services, that improve their circumstances. They resist, despise, and even retreat from being sold. Being a buyer feels empowering, while being sold to often generates feelings of overwhelm, anger, or even powerlessness.
By using a Buying Experience Strategy Template (B.E.S.T.), Donald’s team is on pace for their best year yet. In a recent survey buyers noted a marked difference in their buying experience with his company. One comment in particular, summed up the feedback: “While I’ve always liked what they sold me, now I even like how they sell me.”
To help you get started, I’ve included a process visual illustrating the distinction between a buying and selling experience along with four questions from the five-part BEST system.
- What do buyers dislike about their current sales experience?
- How does a buying experience differ from their current sales experience?
- What needs to change in your sales culture to create that buying experience?
- How will we engage Radical Accountability for this change?
Yes, you can sell more without doing more selling. You reduce your labor intensity when you do while increasing the satisfaction of your buyers. That’s something you both can be totally sold on.