The Question of HOW?

When we discuss ‘Sales Methodology’ it is important to recognize that no single methology is a universal atlas to success. Each method has strengths that can be relevant to different types of sales cycles and business negotiations.

I created my ‘Focus on How’ Method not as a standalone – a to z single source of truth but rather a set of guideposts that can work alone or integrate with other sales trainings and methods (like MEDDIC, BANTC, Command of Message…)

I built my support system as a navigator that can help you read various maps and sets of directions to figure out the best path forward.

Each sale will have a slightly different set of circumstances and a unique sales path from start to close. As sales professionals (and some sales organizations) we can get locked into the forecasting mindset of if I do A (discovery) this leads to B and the next step – just as if you were driving a straight path down the interstate.

In theory this sounds nice and occasionally the sales cycle can be super methodical and transactional – but traffic and other detours come up.

The sales method helps you to navigate the ‘in the moment’ set of circumstances while still planning on next steps and how to reach the mutually beneficial destination.

In my current role, I recently took a training on creating a Sales Path within the Sales Cycle. This provides customer focused initiative of creating a Sales Path with the customer and breaking it down into buckets and figuring out HOW to meet their needs and solve their business objectives.

This focus on a customer driven sales approach led me to create the Focus on How method. As sales professionals we need to be both tactical and agile – able to focus on data and tactically going through each sales cycle, while also being strategic enough to evaluate the insight and customer goals in the moment and figure out HOW to move forward.

Every single sales method shares the language of HOW:

  • How can we help the client
  • How can we solve their business objectives
  • How can we work together to ensure a mutually successful business partnership

HOW goes beyond the word and question itself…

HOW asks how you can take action based on data and customer insight

It meets establishes the root of the customer ‘WHY’ – what is driving them – what needs/wants/desires affect this and HOW can you transform their business.

How helps move a deal along but the goal of focusing on HOW is meeting the customer and working to provide solutions and a ‘sales path’ that is positive and impactful. HOW focuses on customer first because when you care about the customer’s needs as if they are your own – you both succeed.

How helps you to be the driver – and control the deal cycle – not by going through the motions but being able to understand the road and how to maneuver each twist and turn from a place of objectivity and empathy.

How is a backbone of every sales method and Focusing on HOW will help you succeed.

Tips for this week:

  • Discovery is arguably the most important piece of a sales cycle because it helps you to understand the needs and wants of the customer – from a business and emotional level.
    • Focus on HOW you can create a path forward based on the customer WHY? Think about the data (budget, timeline, DMS, what their goals are) and HOW you can solve their business problems
    • How can your solution provide value
    • Does the value outweigh the cost of the status quo – how would you truly impact their business and why is that important.

I love to problem solve and it helps if I have a notebook where I can write out notes and think about HOW I can get from point A to the next step. I call this a HOW TO JOURNAL – I recommend keeping a notebook for brainstorming -HOWs for deals and goals. When you have hashed out the details you can put it in Salesforce or your CRM of record or even a Word Doc to hold yourself accountable. You will be able to look to your ‘HOW TO’ guide with each step and be able to adjust as necessary (agility)

It’s okay if you hit a dead end on your own – I’ve thought deals were dead because we couldn’t solve a problem or overcome an objection – but in those times invite your colleagues and manager into the conversation – they might have a HOW you didn’t see.

Successful sales professionals are successful because they focus less on how great they are and are willing to work with others. Know your value with confidence – but don’t be so caught up in ‘how’ you have to do things you forget to ask for help when you hit a roadblock.

There are a million ways from my home state of NC to California – they each have a unique path. How you get there depends on the journey and goal.

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