Strategic Selling

While we are talking all over digitalization, it is worth to mention the transformation of selling styles. In old school, there was assertive selling which means more pushing the customer and insisting on something. Then there became expertise selling. That means you are the technical expert and tell about your product in detail. When people realize networking is one of the key elements in selling. They said relational selling is important. It emphasizes relation with customer is really important. It is not a new term but frequently used one: consultative selling. I think one of the duties of Next Generation CEO is to be expert on consultancy and how to utilize that in CxO selling environment.

We always say that we live in techy world and we are being bombarded by lots of information even though we do not know which portion is important when. We are kind of over loaded. To deliver information towards customers is not enough itself. Customers are looking for valuable information and empathy as a key world. Shortly, they need help to solve their problems. In consultative selling, you are being a partner for your customer. You are supporting the customer to solve his/her problem. In the example of digitalization, they sometimes need to understand what it is and how to enable this trend into their organization. It needs long term support and commitment. It can bring you a lifetime of sales with trust. You of course need to spend lots of time and this is an investment. At the end, you will earn a customer for period.

There is a big step in sales which is called sales pitch. As a new bee, they teach you how to do that. In new world, I call the new version as consultation pitch. And you cannot do that in seconds for sure. At first, you design a workshop with customer to do that and you tell about your wish. You give consultation for what they need for free. Your sales pitch is maybe in third-fourth phase. It is now strategic relationship. Trust plays critical role here. You have to build up the trust for the customers. You can do that with your attitude and knowledge. I even find customer satisfaction surveys not meaningful anymore. In digital world, if they are satisfied with you, they keep on working with you anyways. We have to reduce the complexity and move ourselves a bit towards simplicity. This long term relationship with customer eventually increases your profitability. That is more strategic selling instead of transactional selling. You have to be strategy person before you become a sales person. You have to know what primary steps are for consultancy. These two items are essential to deliver the best output to customers.

As Next Generation CEO, you can change all your activities regarding sales. It needs to be more long term with trust and commitment. You have to build up new term as strategic selling. Most of the companies are looking for CxO selling. You have to sell from each level of your company regardless what the position is. You can touch on C-Level of the customer and create more strategic platforms. Then it will enable to set up more close relationship and consultation environment. Let’s not forget that we do not only sell our products, solutions, systems, we sell our ideas which are the most important.

Hakan Özdemir

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