By Pat Hinds
I have been watching my daughter play basketball over the last couple of months and the team she plays on is made up of mostly first year players. It has been interesting watching the progression of the team and my daughter. She has been a point guard for most of the season and doing a fine job, but she has a tendency in the offensive zone to dribble the ball to the right side of the court all the way to the baseline. When she gets the ball to this position on the court it leaves her limited options and she often loses her dribble and turns the ball over.
I have also been part of a sales 2.0 discussion group on LinkedIn where recently a person posted a discussion “What’s the Most Challenging Aspect of Being a Sales Person Today?”. Whether an experienced sales person or a newbie, I feel the most challenging aspects of being a sales person is the same challenge my daughter faces as a basketball player. Sales people have a tendency to take a product into an account and assume all customers have the same requirement/problem and they position a solution without asking questions; as a result, the sales cycle gets stuck with limited options to keep the sales opportunity alive.
In a sale 2.0 environment sales reps need to evolve their skills based on solution selling, just like basketball players need to evolve their game around a proven offense. A while back I wrote a blog called “Strategic Selling: Comparisons to a Basketball Triangle Offense” and listed below is the summary of 7 key points to the triangle offence. I have updated the points to relate to solution selling:
1. The offense must penetrate the defense – Solution selling is built around a questioning process designed to uncover problems. If you ask the right question you will find the problem.
2. The offense must be involved in the full court game – Solution selling is based on account research prior to meeting with the customer and also includes a post sales methodology that is built around maintaining a long term relationship with the customer.
3. The offense must provide proper spacing – Solution selling is built around a 3×3 model that has the rep meeting with multiple people within the account that spans divisions and management levels.
4. The offense must ensure player and ball movement with a purpose – The purpose is not to sell a product, but to uncover the customer problem.
5. The offense must provide strong rebounding position and good defensive balance on the ball – Solution selling responds to customer resistance by clarifying, assuring and managing concerns.
6. The offense must give the player with the ball an opportunity to pass the ball to any of his teammates – Solution selling is team-based selling and a sales rep needs to be able to utilize the supporting cast.
7. The offense must utilize a player’s individual skills – Companies need to invest in solution selling and build a culture around solution selling.
Topics: Sales Consulting