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What Sales Winners Do Differently: Convince.

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Jun 6, 2013

Winners are more than twice as likely to create the perception that the overall value they offer is superior.  When a second-place finisher doesn’t create this perception, it turns out it is the number one most important factor they needed to do differently in order to influence buyers to select them.

These are the findings from What Sales Winners Do Differently and the emerging research that discovered as they explored the idea that solution selling is dead as discussed in our previous blog Tombstone – Is Consultative Selling Really Dead?

“Overall value was superior” is a key driver of buying process satisfaction, likelihood to buy again, and likelihood to refer. In fact, “overall value was superior” is the only factor that is a key driver of all three, and a top 10 factor in all three of the’s major winning research categories.

My career in broadcasting started in sales then advanced to sales management and finally general manager and owner.  I’ve always felt I’m engaged as a salesperson in some capacity.  I may have been best as a sales manager.  One of my strengths is learning.  I constantly strive to learn more about subjects I enjoy. This was certainly the case with selling, striving to learn how to sell better, improve the sales process, gathering as much as I could learn from people like Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar and various other sales training gurus.  That process of learning and offering our clients sales training, sales team evaluation and sales screening continues today with our partnership with Objective Management Group and their premier sales assessment process. 

My E-Myth Caoching taught me the value of having a disciplined system to follow each time when working with a prospect.  I learned that the prospect follows one of three systems, their own, the competitors, or yours.  It makes sense to have them follow your system.  It helps to know where they are in their decision making and allows you to control the process. 

Because of my 20 plus years in sales, the value and importance of the’s research we explored last blog What Sales Winners Do Differently: Connect should not be ignored.  Solution Selling isn’t dead; however sales people need to think of it differently than they might have in the past. Let’s look more at Convince in this blog.

The research found three levels of selling behaviors and outcomes that set winners apart from second place finishers.

  1. Connect
  2. Convince
  3. Collaborate

Level 2: ConvinceRAINGroup Level 2 Convince resized 600

Winners convince buyers that they can achieve maximum return, that the risks are minimal, and that the seller is the best choice among all options.  The insightful research What Sales Winners Do Differently Sellers, sellers who win convince buyers of three things:

  1. The return on investment is worth it.
  2. The risk is acceptable.
  3. The seller is the best choice among the available options.

To do these things, the seller must be able to define and communicate the maximum return on investment, minimize the buyer’s perception of risk, and differentiate from other available options. By themselves these are not surprising.  But as investigated further, they found:

1) Sellers who won achieved these outcomes much more often than the second-place finishers, and

2) Winners are much more attuned to risk than the second place finishers.

In selling, prospects are often described in terms of moving away (avoiding pain), or moving toward (seeking pleasure or positive results).  The common belief is that avoiding pain is a much more motivating force than moving toward.  Therefore most sales people concentrate on the former in their sales presentation – avoiding pain.  The results of the research would indicate that there is much more here to balance than might we have considered previously. 

While everyone promises results, buyers regularly report disappointment.

In fact the sales consulting and training work, encounters surprisingly strong backlash from sellers against helping clients to set an agenda (versus just reacting to one), influencing the buyer too much, and using maximum persuasion. 

Belief versus Reality

In a study by Bain & Company, 375 companies were asked if they believed they delivered a “superior value proposition” to clients. Eighty percent said yes. Bain then asked the clients of these companies if they agreed that the specific company from which they bought delivered a superior value proposition. Only 8% agreed.  Buyers simply don’t believe they get either what they expected or were promised by sellers. They’ve been burned in the past and are therefore skeptical of sellers and their claims.  Most every experienced seller has lost a sale to “no decision,” where the seller believes the buyer was crazy not to move forward because the return on investment case was so compelling.

Minimizing Risk

The following factors showed up as important in minimizing risk:

  • Provider is respected at my organization
  • Provider has experience in the specific area I have needs and in my industry
  • Seller was professional
  • Seller depicted purchase process accurately
  • Seller was trustworthy
  • Seller inspired confidence in his/her company
  • Seller helped me avoid potential pitfalls

These are all confidence builders. In other words, they’re about minimizing the perception of risk.

Level 2 is Convince.

The Top 2 things buyers say winners do more often than second-place finishers:

  1. “Educated me with new ideas or perspectives”
  2. “Collaborated with me”

Every buying scenario is different. When sellers figure out what buyers believe to be important and work towards that, they win more often.  The other two factors in the best choice category are “products and services superior” and “offerings differentiated from other options.”  Does the seller build the product? No, but they are the lens through which the product or service strengths are communicated to the buyer.

It’s up to the seller to differentiate from the other options. When they don’t, they leave it to the buyer to interpret their advantages, leaving competitive differentiation to chance.  That’s why convince is so critical. When sellers understand all three components—maximum return, minimum risk, and best choice—of Level 2 (“convince”), they take the groundwork they laid in Level 1 (“connect”) and turbo-charge their chances of a win.

Is this helping you to understand how you need to changes your sales game and what components of your sales process and sales effort need to be tuned up?  Next blog will look at level 3 selling behaviors and outcomes from What Sales Winners Do Differently – Collaborate.  

Topics: Sales Process, Objective Management Group, Sales Training, What Sales Winners Do Differently,, Sales Discipline

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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