View From the Top – When Salespeople Call on Purchasing

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The single question that salespeople ask more than any other is, “When I’m with purchasing, they don’t seem to have a compelling reason to buy and don’t care about our value add. What can I do?” I’ll answer that question shortly. First, an analogy to help you see it from my perspective.

Take an elevator up at least 20 floors in Manhattan and you’ll immediately notice that the view from the top is mostly yellow — a sea of taxis — with some limos and buses mixed in.

From high above Manhattan I saw these comparisons:

Great salespeople – the elite 6% – are in the limos. They receive the red carpet, very professional, smooth, comfortable door to door service with the help of a chauffeur. That’s right. Great salespeople find a chauffeur – someone who has the right connections to drive you directly to a decision maker that cares enough to make decisions. And on the strength of the introduction, you are seen differently, not as a commodity, but as a partner, advisor or expert.

Decent salespeople – the next 20% – are in the taxis. They are trying to go where the limos go, but it’s not as smooth, not as easy, not as comfortable, and when they drop you off you must fend for yourself. Without doors being opened and introductions being made on your behalf, you’ll have to fight your way to the top and probably won’t get there. You don’t have the VIP pass. So you might get to middle management – people who need to schedule meetings, can’t say yes, won’t say no, and string you along.

Everyone else – the bottom 74% – they’re on the buses. They’ll get you there too, but they’ll bring you to the transportation hub where all salespeople disembark – purchasing or procurement. You’re “there”, but with little hope to do anything except talk about pricing, be viewed as a commodity, and pin your hopes on winning the price war. Now that you’ve started with purchasing, and been frustrated, you can’t go over their heads.

Before I answer the question, let me ask a few questions.

Why are salespeople content to ride the bus to nowhere?

Why are their sales managers, VP’s, Presidents and CEO’s content to allow the bus rides to continue?

You would think that as soon as salespeople are shown what to do and how to do it , selling would immediately become much easier for them but many of them are like rubber bands and snap back to their comfortable behaviors. Why is it so difficult for them to change?

It’s what I call Non-Supportive Buy Cycle – the way they buy does not support the ideal outcomes of a sales process. When we attempt to create change, the contradiction between how some salespeople buy and how we want them to sell is enormous. Selling the way purchasing wants to buy – lowest price – resonates and it costs companies billions of dollars in lost revenue. It’s one of the hidden weaknesses that make salespeople completely ineffective and new skills don’t fix the problem. The only cure for this is surgery – your salespeople must change the way they buy things.

There are five hidden elements to the Non Supportive Buy Cycle and you can learn which salespeople have them, which ones they are, and what kind of impact they are having on your revenue and profit by evaluating your sales force.

(c) Copyright 2013 Dave Kurlan

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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