Earlier this year, Mark Mitchell, who co-authored our book RAINMAKER, and I conducted a study to learn what Building Materials Sales Forces are being challenged with this year. 146 organizations participated. For the next few blogs, I will provide insight on what we learned. I will share what you said were the top 5 challenges you face, with a brief commentary on each.
Challenge #2 – Transitioning Salespeople To Being Business Advisors vs. Product Sellers
In our last blog, we covered the #1 Challenge: Selling Value vs Price. Scoring nearly the same, 60% of Sales Managers and Sales Leaders felt that Transitioning Salespeople to Business Advisors was the 2nd biggest challenge they face.
Truthfully, I did not find this surprising. The Building Materials industry is ALL ABOUT PRODUCT! Every company does its absolute best to come up with new variations, new products, and new enhancements every single year. Every trade show I see, nearly all the exhibits are displaying product. And yes, I know, product pays the bills!
I get it. But if all you are selling is product, inevitably you get caught in the challenge of differentiation. More and more customers can buy product via on-line portals. What customers are seeking is your counsel, your experience, your ability to help them succeed. And for that, you need to shift your mindset from selling product, to selling yourself and your company as a source of counsel to the challenges they experience every day. As one CEO said to me: “Our sole purpose is to help customers improve their businesses.” So, while product and service solutions do ultimately generate revenue, ask yourself:
- Are you genuinely committed to making that transition to becoming advisors?
- Are you developing business acumen on the part of your sales teams?
- Are you helping your salespeople develop a compelling business case for your solutions?
- What is your Value Message?
Becoming a Business Advisor is a never-ending journey. That is why it is hard. But I guarantee you, making progress in this area will absolutely differentiate you and drive bigger opportunities.