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Sales is the act of helping people solve problems. It only makes sense that the best salespeople are the ones who are able to best solve the problems their customers have. But how exactly do you determining if you or your competitors is doing the “best” job at that? On this episode of In the Arena you’re going to get one of the most significant parts of the equation explained to you clearly from Niraj Dawar, author of the powerful sales book, “Tilt.” Anthony digs into the concepts of differentiation and customer risk in this conversation, two concepts that can literally transform the way you do sales and the success you experience. You’ve got to hear this one.
What are “upstream” and “downstream” activities in the sales process?
Niraj Dawar makes a clear distinction between what he calls the “upstream” and “downstream” activities involved in the sales cycle because he believes that clearly seeing and understanding the difference is one of the main ways that salespeople are able to focus more on customer needs and bring the features and benefits of their products to bear on those needs. Anthony and Niraj unpack that idea in their conversation on this episode, showing you how a focus on the “downstream” side of sales (the part that’s aimed at understanding customer needs and risks) to amplify your sales presentations and approach.
Why competing on price and cutting cost can only go so far.
We’ve all seen the “race to the bottom” that happens when two companies with identical products or services begin to compete on price. For the sake of getting new business each begins to cut costs wherever they can, lowering the price as an enticement to the customer to purchase from them. There’s nothing that makes one company stand out over the other except the issue of pricing. How do you get out of that cycle and make your offer stand out even if the price you’re asking is higher? It’s by differentiating yourself in ways specific to the needs of the customer. On this episode you’re going to learn the key questions you need to ask in order to do that.
Why understanding and addressing customer risk can increase your sales.
Your customers have a job to do and they are looking to your product or service to help them get that job done. But whether or not they tap you as the one to provide what they need depends on many things beyond price. They’ve got specific risks or costs inherent to the project at hand and the better you understand what those are, the better able you will be to position your product in a way that addresses those risks effectively, resulting in the sale – and the confidence of your customers over the long haul. Find out how to move your sales process in that direction on this episode of In The Arena with Anthony Iannarino.
How Hyundai increased sales during a dramatic period of economic recession.
One of the stories that Niraj Dawar recounts in his book, “Tilt” is the story of how Hyundai made some dramatic decisions during a steep economic downturn that actually increased their sales when the rest of the competition experienced serious losses. The approach they took is an example of what Niraj points to as the key in making your sales offerings stand out among the competition even when financial consideration for the prospective customer are at a very serious level. You’ll learn a lot from this episode, so be sure to listen.
Outline of this great episode
- Anthony’s introduction of Niraj Dawar and the conversation on this episode.
- Why Anthony felt the concepts of the book were powerfully relevant for salespeople.
- The difference between “upstream” and “downstream” activities in sales.
- Why a cost cutting effect can only go so far.
- Why you have to create greater value for customers in light of their risks.
- Questions to ask yourself to drill into customer risks and concerns.
- Rethinking the real value you offer to your customers for greater sales potential.
- Differentiating your product based on risk reduction for the customer.
- A story of increased sales during a recession.
Resources & Links mentioned in this episode
www.StrategyTilt.com – Niraj’s website
Follow Niraj on Twitter
The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on Soundcloud
Connect with Anthony
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SAnthonyIannarino
Get my latest book: The Lost Art of Closing
"In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall."
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