How can a K.I.S.S help you move forward?


The K.I.S.S acronym means, for most people, keep it simple, stupid. A principle originally used by the US Navy in the 1960’s stating that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. Keeping things simple in choosing company strategies or management principles has since been used many times and proven successful. A most recent example of this is superbly described by Ken Allen, the ex CEO of DHL Express, in his book Radical Simplicity.

I have been using the K.I.S.S acronym differently. It has helped me with my transformation to be a better salesperson. The acronym is the same, but then with a different meaning. I have used it for reflecting on old habits and challenging myself to transform into new selling habits. Self-reflection is a powerful concept. There is no doubt that the new way of selling requires a lot of changes from sales executives. Your preparation is different, your mindset, your discovery, heck you even close your meetings differently. I challenge you to use the K.I.S.S concept as the following: Think back of the last calls you had with prospects and customers and reflect on:

  • Keep: what should you Keep doing?
  • Improve: what can you Improve?
  • Stop: what you should Stop doing?
  • Start: what should you Start doing?

Honesty is required, Write down your thoughts that first come to mind. 3-4 bullet points per section. If you wish, review blogs like: ‘Have you moved on from Solution Selling?‘ and ‘Please, allow me to introduce myself, I am a Trusted Advisor‘, as your guidance. Below an example:

KEEP Are you doing the fundamentals well?
• Are you preparing your calls with a buyer’s perspective, not a seller’s perspective?
• Looking through a prospect’s lens, do you understand their business challenges?
• Are you connected to more than three stakeholders?
• Do you know where they are in their buying process?
IMPROVEStep up a notch on these
• Start being the instigator of change. What insights relevant to the prospects’ challenges can you share?
• Related to what your prospect wants to achieve, what risks of not changing do you see?
• Find a Change Champion who can help with involving more stakeholders
• Have you moved on from solution selling?
STOP These habits work against you
• Believing that only one stakeholder makes the decision
• Going into meetings with the assumption of what your prospect needs
• Jumping too soon pitching your solution (and offer a proposal)
• Do most of the talking, in particular about how great your company is
• Ending a meeting without your prospect making a commitment on:
– exploring change with you in a next meeting
– involving more stakeholders
– driving consensus in the buying group that a change is needed
STARTYou will be more effective if you start
Helping your prospect to make sense out of the overwhelming amount of information.
– what is important and what not?
– what is essential to action on?
– what strategic initiative would pay off?

• Start thinking about questions where you let the prospect discover something about themselves:
– is their current situation get them where they want to be?
– are they reaping the rewards of the latest trends?
– will their consumers still be loyal in 2 years time?
– how can they disrupt their market to attract more customers?

• Lift conversations to a more strategic level.
– Will your prospect gain strategic advantages when changing to you as a partner?

Every day, after your calls with customers and prospects, use the above K.I.S.S reflection and ask yourself what you should keep, improve, stop and start. The habits you want to keep, make sure they become habitual. Focus on seeking improvement on ONE thing only in IMPROVE, STOP and START. As it turns out, human beings are excellent at focusing on a maximum of three things at one time (1, 2, 3….too many!). Do this for two weeks. and start again. You will see, it works like a miracle!

For sales managers: you can also use the K.I.S.S as a coaching model. After a day on joint calls and or visits, ask your sales executive what works well for them at the moment that they want to keep doing, what needs to be improved, what should they stop doing, and what should they start doing? When a few weeks pass by, and you join the same sales exec for another day, use the previous K.I.S.S action plan as a reference for the next coaching. A K.I.S.S can really help you move forward!

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