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Collaborative Selling: How to Gain the Competitive Advantage in Sales Paperback – September 20, 1993
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
About the Author
DR. TONY ALESSANDRA is the President of Alessandra and Associates, a La Jolla, California-based consulting finn which provides keynote speakers and sales training to such companies as AT&T, General Electric, IBM, and IDS/American Express. He is the coauthor of Non-Manipulative Selling, The Idea-A-Day Guide to Super Selling and Customer Service, and Be Your Own Sales Manager. RICK BARRERA is a certified speaker, sales trainer, and consultant based in La Jolla, California. Rick delivers keynote speeches and workshops to many prominent companies, including Xerox, Intel, Tupperware, Gannett Media, and Glamour magazine. He is the coauthor of the business best-seller Non-Manipulative Selling.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Introduction Welcome to Collaborative Selling, a new kind of sales book designed to help you reach exceptional levels of success in today's new sales environment. The world has changed in significant ways and salespeople today are required to have new skills, new attitudes and a new understanding of how to work with their clients. Companies today are participating in a worldwide quantum shift that's particularly acute in the United States. There are three key aspects to this shift:
o Technology - for most products, technology is no longer a differentiator. Most of your competitors have about the same technology as you do, which means your products have about the same features. In the past, it was possible to have a technical breakthrough that would give you years of competitive advantage. Only a few companies can claim today that their product is radically different from the competition ... and that difference generally lasts only a few years at most.
o Global Market - we're selling in a global marketplace, which means we have more competitors and different competitors than we've had in the past. The arrival of new competitors has also created more confusion in the marketplace ... not only for us but for our customers.
o Supply Exceeds Demand - for most products and services, supply exceeds demand. In other words, there are more products and services available than the market as a whole wants to buy. In the past, businesses with quality products were reasonably sure they would be able to sell them. Today, that may no longer be true. Do you remember the "good old days" of 1983 when the phone company was still a monopoly and connecting new service could take weeks? Today, you have literally hundreds of choices and it takes only minutes to connect you! What this all means is that buyers today are overwhelmed with more choices of products and suppliers than they could possibly ever use. If you want to be successful in today's market you must be able to get the buyers attention, and to do that you must be able to differentiate yourself, your company and your product. In the 80s you had to do more with less. Today you have to do more with less and do it faster. Quality that you can document is essential to survive in today's market, and exceptional customer service delivered by your company ... and you ... is more important than ever. Today's customers aren't looking for quick fixes, either. They're looking for long-term relationships with suppliers who'll be resources for them over the long haul. Your ability to collaborate and partner with your customers will make or break your career. Your sales success in the information age will depend on your ability to learn about and adapt to the realities of a new and very different marketplace. Another reason the selling systems of the past won't work today because they were designed to work in a different environment ... an adversarial environment. Today, many companies are awarding lifetime contracts to their supplier-partners. Companies network their computer systems together for order entry, just-in-time inventory control, and electronic payment. When your customers are your partners-and you want them as lifetime partners--you can't sell using commando tactics. An adversarial relationship just won't work. There are six key words that describe how the collaborative sales process unfolds: Targeting, Contacting, Exploring, Collaborating, Confirming, and Assuring. Let's take an overview of the process:
o Target - this step helps you understand exactly what you have to offer that's unique and exactly which target audiences can best use what you have to sell. It takes some time, but your success ratios will be much higher because you'll be focusing your efforts only on those prospects who have a high probability of buying. Then you'll work to see that these prospects have a positive image of you before you call on them.
o Contact - When you do contact them you'll be prepared to convey your advantages, your credibility and your sincere desire to be of service. You'll develop trust and you'll gather a complete picture of their situation, their needs and their opportunities before you talk at all about your product or service. You'll let your prospect know you're there to help more than you're there to sell.
o Explore - Rather than delivering a pitch, you'll explore options with your client to develop solutions that you feel might work in his situation.
o Collaborate - Together you'll select the options that look like the best fit. Your client will have as much or more input into the creation and the selection of options as you do. This process ensures that they will be as committed to implementing the solution as you are. After all, why would they invest their time in creating a solution they're not committed to buy?
o Confirm - This step is the logical conclusion to the continual communication and problem solving process you've been in with your client. You're not ending the process, you're beginning it. Confirmation becomes a question of when, not if. If resistance does occur, it simply indicates a need to gather more information or clarify some details. When your prospect has helped co-design the solution and "buys in," then you don't need to "close" him. If he feels his needs are being met, he'll buy!
o Assure - The final step begins immediately after the sale. You change hats from "salesperson" to "quality control person." You'll help your customers track their results and analyze the effectiveness of your solution. By assuring their satisfaction, you'll build a large, loyal clientele that will guarantee future sales and referrals. Throughout this book, you'll be learning all of the specific skills and techniques you'll need to effectively practice collaborative selling. If you're new to the sales profession, you'll be learning the correct way to sell right from the beginning. If you're an old pro, you'll have an opportunity to refine your skills, be reminded of some things you may have forgotten, and learn some new skills along the way.
Top customer reviews
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The reason for the three stars? It is not back my research or anything with credibility. Yes, it's reasonable and one can argue that the methods explained are logical and realistic. That leads to another problem it provides lots of ideas but not practical unless you work really hard with creating a new system to market yourself, but in general it doesn't add much value that can be applicable to your current sales job. A lot of the stuff is kind of common sense and some I doubt they will work --such as advertising yourself and writing articles and books--- seriously who has time to do all that just to create an image of a knowledgeable expert in your field, most salesmen don't have time to do these stuff or their writing skills are not up to par to be a published author. The advices-- most are hard to apply immediately and are limited due to budget and skills. Compared to other good sales books I read, this one lacks credibility, provides common ideas-- nothing new and hard to apply ideas quickly...
So in general, this book flows- easy read- some tips work and are good but most are either too costly or too hard to implement.
If you're a student-- yea read it to learn some new stuff and learn out to create your simple things-- 30 seconds elevator speech and how to present yourself--.
This book is written for current sales people-- beginners will find it helpful and it's easy to understand (everything is explained well and it's well organized).
If you're an expert or had been doing sales for awhile-- hmm, I'd recommend find another book..
Of course, that's just my personal opinion so if the positive points fit what you're looking for--- it's a buy.
I've have been in sales before--knocking on doors to sell att u-verse stuff.