In nearly every industry, the sales landscape has undergone a sea change.
Senior buyers are inundated with sales calls and can find data anywhere. And yet, ironically, when it comes to choosing a salesperson, senior buyers are not giving preference to those they already know. Instead, they are seeking out salespeople who have the industry expertise related to the buyer’s business. Senior buyers want a salesperson who knows about the industry they are in, and who can help them think differently about how their business can innovate and compete. This method is called “Point of View Selling.”
In a nutshell, a point of view is a perspective and approach to address customer problems that can be solved and are worth solving. Solving these problems is hard, or at least not easy or self-evident for the customer. Customers realize significant benefits from a salespersons point of view, such as:
- achieving profitable revenue growth and market share
- improving the efficiency of an operation or process
- enhancing the experience and improving the attraction and retention of the end user customer
- removing or mitigating serious risk to operations or to competitive advantage.
Adrian Logan, sales program executive at Siemens, shared an example of implementing point of vselling. A major city was struggling under the weight of spiraling energy consumption. In fact, the energy expenses crippled the city budget so badly that it couldn’t afford the required changes.
Siemens suggested a straightforward and compelling financial narrative to take to the city’s senior leaders: If they could finance the LED lights needed in 65,000 traffic signals, and pay off the five-year loan entirely with the money saved by using LED lights, would they buy and install them immediately? The answer: Yes, of course. Done deal. And since the life of LED lights would long outlive the five-year loan, the city gained great financial value. Plus, the city leadership received favorable press by implementing a significant green initiative.
This solution was not even on the radar screen of city leaders. They were not in the market for LEDs, or even lightbulbs. But Siemens did its homework and brought this strategic conversation to the senior level, thus circumventing a price war at the procurement level.
So, that’s an introduction to Point of View Selling. But, is it right for your organization? To determine a fit your organization, there are two primary factors to consider:
1. Your Customers. To determine whether your target buyers are “right,” ask yourself if they are:
- interested in new ideas for improving business performance
- able to target customer decision makers who can find budget, not just manage budget
- willing and able to take action to improve their business, given a compelling business case
- inclined to buy on value, rather than buying only on price.
2. Your Solutions. If your solutions are “right” for Point of View Selling, they:
- involve a mix of products and services to deliver
- are difficult to explain (i.e., hard to describe to a novice)
- have a significant impact on a customer’s strategic business drivers
- are unique in the marketplace.
Appropriate business “fit” and having a compelling point of view (such as the Siemens example) are two critical components of your organization’s readiness for Point of View Selling.
In the next post, I will explore the foundational and advanced selling skills required to really make this selling approach come to life and achieve results.
Michael Collins is vice president and executive consultant at The Forum Corp., a Boston-based premiere learning organization.