It’s a very common habit to create TO-DO lists. These keep us focused on priorities that really matter. Quite often though it can be very helpful to also work on a STOP DOING list. In particular, when you work on new skills you would like to make a habit. Stop-doing priorities will automatically steer you in the right direction because you are giving something up that can be replaced with something new. A stop-doing list is also very helpful in your journey of becoming a Trusted Advisor. Here is my Top Stop-Doing list:
- Stop checking in. As Trusted Advisors, you don’t call your potential customers to check-in if they need something right now, or if something has changed, or if they have time to meet. Instead, you need to have something that is worth their time meeting with you. Ensure you have an agenda that is worthwhile to discuss. At least one insight relevant to the customer’s situation should be on that agenda.
- Stop leading with your product and services. This becomes so boring for your potential customers. They have heard these so many times, also from your competitor sales reps. In fact, you can trust they have done their homework and are well informed about your company’s capabilities. Instead, lead with relevant information they were not aware of and is changing their perception of their challenges.
- Stop being self-centered. Instead of selling with the seller’s perspective your new habit is selling with the buyer’s perspective. It is not about closing the deal with dollar signs in your eyes. Instead, help your potential customers to make sense of the complexity they are dealing with. You are the expert where their world interconnects with yours. It is about how you can help your potential customers to avoid risksand see new perspectives that open up opportunities.
- Stop focusing on your competitor. It is not about you against them. Your buyer does not think that way. Unless you want then to, which is in your control. The “What or the Who” you are competing with are not your traditional competitors but instead other stakeholders at the customer’s organization having different agendas. Some are ready to make a change. Others are not. Focus on finding a change champion and together create a consensus that a change is needed for their company to gain a strategic advantage.
- Stop spending time on activities that are not really sales. Being a Trusted Advisor is hard work and requires time. So, this is actually a message to top sales leaders: create time for your front-liners not to have them attending unnecessary meetings. Steer account-related phone calls to other experts in your company. That’s why you have customer service and a billing department and other functional experts. Stop asking them to write time-wasting reports. And this all for the good cause – gaining time they can convert into revenue!
- Stop winging it. If customers ask you for details, stop winging your answers. Be prepared or have quick access to detailed information. Show your credibility that you are an advisor that has advice.
- Stop selling on price. The moment you offer to “beat” the competitor’s price think about what you have just done from the buyer’s perspective; You have just commoditized yourself, your company and your products and services. To your potential customer, you have just confirmed what you can offer is about the same as the competitor. On the other hand, if you believe that you, your company and products and service can make a significant contribution to the growth and profit of your potential customer’s company then that is a strategic value many businesses are after and are willing to pay for.
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