The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 5 years ago

Building Positive Business Intent

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How do you build positive business intent in your sales process? Senior Delivery Partner Brian Walsh walks through best practices for gaining trusted adviser status with your prospects and customers.

Hello, I'm Rachel Club Miller. Thank you for joining us for this podcast. We're talking about building positive business intent. We often talk about a salesperson's need to be a trusted advisor with his or her clients. You've heard that multiple times over, but really, what does that mean and how do you do that? How you're supposed to do that? One way is to be diligent around building positive business intent. Brian Walls joins me now. I know you're very post passionate about this topic. Right. I am Rachel and it. I find it interesting that when I use the phrase and people haven't heard it before, a lot of times they they're not quite sure what I mean and and we'll get inside of that. But I think this topic is so important because, one, if you think about how clients make decisions, if you think about how we make decisions in our own personal lives, it's always about ourselves first, it's right and the solution second. So clients do the same thing. Clients are thinking about their business first. They're not thinking about our products or solutions first. That's the outcome when they've really thought through the...

...business side first. And I think the other thing is how we approach these conversations with clients, both in a singular fashion and over the course of an entire relationship with the client. Says absolutely everything about us and personally and collectively as an organization. Great. So let's let's break it down. Tell me what positive business intent is. So the concept came to me a very long time ago. I think I'd then selling for three or four years. I've been. I was moving into more of a major account type of sales environment and I can't remember who brought it in. It was an outside party to the company. I can't remember who he was or where he came from, but he came to the table with this idea that, you know, there are really four things that separate all from the greatest of sales organizations, and it was an equation. Actually. They had four parts. It was the idea that you had this reliability factor. You know, are you what you...

...say you are? Are you going to be who you say you are? This idea that there was an intimacy factor, an ability to create great personal relationships with people over time. There was a credibility factor. That was the third component. Do I bring some sort of authority to the table about what we do? You know personally and collectively. And then last there was this idea that there's this self orientation factor. This this this idea that a client can look at you and basically judge through your actions, are you highly self oriented or are you highly custom Orian? It right and and in the end he put this into an equation which was the first three, reliability, intimacy, incredibility, get added together and whatever that you know, score that the customer might assigned to me versus another salesperson might be gets divided by my self orientation. So if myself orientation is very high, it discounts all those other...

...three pieces. If my self orientation is low, if I have a high customer orientation, that high level score that I get from the other top three guess divided by a much smaller number, which obviously gives me a much better chance because the client realizes that I'm all about the client first, just through what not only would I say, but how I actually act. Right in building that positive business intent. Yep. So this is should be a great goal for every salesperson to have with every customer that they deal with, trusted advisor, building this positive business intent. Yeah, but but it sounds a little lofty. Yeah, it can probably feel a little lofty until you get inside of the details of it, because all four of those points, I think, are very, very actionable. Right, they don't have to be academic theory. I do think it starts with the fact that we have to realize it as an organization, we have a point of view that we can bring to the marketplace that most others that were talking with every day having the...

...typically thought of. Right, if we've got some expertise and that's why we are who we are as some organization, we should be comfortable bringing that to the table in such a way that it starts with great stories and great questions and then translates and pivots specifically what we do for living. But there's a lot of pieces that get to that. So first there's this thing called the value based business conversation. Right, right, we've heard that for before. Right, we teach that a lot in command of the message. But really that more true a building. That value based business conversation is a great way to think about building positive business in death. Yeah, because it's all about the customer first. It's about the business first, it's about where are you today? What's the consequences of that very, very specific and Medi Conversation from multiple perspective. It leads to a conversation about what great looks like on the back end, from an outcome perspective, and what life can be like for organizations that deal with that set of problems really, really, really effectively, without talking about who we are specifically. So it's a it's a covert conversation to an extent about what makes us special, but it's almost a conversation says,...

Hey, whether you buy from me or not. And this was where I was used to stand. When I felt like a client was trying to pull me into a product conversation too fast, I'd say, look, I can't wait to talk about us, but whether you buy from us right now is not the question to be answered. The question to be answered is, have we thought through where you are and where you're really trying to go well enough that getting to a great outcome is what matters first? And then whoever you look at, me and anybody else has got to be able to attach back to that so well that it's not a question as to whether or not you've picked the right vendor. You know you have because you've thought through what's required to get there first, and you've said this, you've said this before, that when you approach these conversations you're trying to build credibility, positive business intent, that you need to focus on what the customer needs, not what that customer wants to hear or expects to hear. Right. And in fact, one of the things in a lot of the different selling environments I've been in over the years we used to do was we would connect back to the client in such a way that we would help them think through the required capabilities...

...for a solution, not just based on the conversation we just walk through about current, say future state, but a lot of times we would share with clients ideas around things like here are all of the things that you might want to think about if you're going to do a request for proposal. We would literally give a client a really well thought out document that said these are the things that other people in your role or your situation typically think through. Here are two or three or four potential options for how to think through that. From a security standpoint, as an example, what level of securities required? How are you going to test that? Those kinds of things. So there they weren't necessarily things that I was trying to specifically to get the client to say, yeah, I have to have security and it has to look like this. Instead, I was giving the clients some options that that I was comfortable with any of those choices and I and more importantly, I was able to say that, the client, you get to land on what matters for you when it comes to security, but it's a conversation that you're going to have to think through no matter who you pick. And that was a that...

...was an example of how clients would look at us and say, Oh, what you're really saying is you you're not trying to point me to your solution specifically, you're trying to point me to a thought process. It says, if I'm going to get to a great outcome, I have to think through these two or three or four scenarios that I haven't thought thought about yet. That was a great way to create that environment or that conversation with the client. Yeah, and those points. If we think about commander, the message terminology, it's the required capability, right. Yeah, it's all about, and everybody knows this, it's all about influencing the required capabilities. So I was very comfortable saying to a client, Hey, these are four or five subjects we haven't talked explicitly about yet, that no matter where you land on those five subjects, if you think through them clearly and carefully, you'll ensure that you get to a better outcome for you and your environment. That's the point of this. And then the client can step back and say, Oh, you're not trying to push me to a specific feature or capability you have.

You're trying to get me to think about the problem and how it thinking through that helps me in my business. First, Positive Business Sen yeah, so we've got focus on what the customer needs, really focus on that value based business conversation. Remember the requirements. Help the customer with the requirements that exist, whether your solution is there or not. Right, and then think about your referral network as building positive business attend that's that's something maybe people aren't really thinking of. Yeah, well, you know, everybody's always talking about how do I get access to higher level people in my accounts, right, and especially when there's decision going on, and if you think about where people enter and exit the decision process, that's really tough, because higher level people executive specifically, they typically enter the decision process early help the group set requirements, then they exit for a while while the group goes off and looks at different options, and then they show up late to help the decision process get finalize make sure the group makes a great decision avoid any risk of picking the...

...wrong solution or vendors. So a lot of times we're in the middle of these around talking about requirements and options and we're trying to get executive engagement and they're long gone. Right. So you've got to really think specifically about how am I going to try to get to that person? There's typically, in my mind, only two ways to do it, or maybe the third you get lucky before decision processes that ever started, you go to some sort of event or meeting and you get lucky, which is great. It happens, and if you've got a great point of view on what you do for living, you might get a chance to talk and maybe take that to another level. But inside of a decision itself, I've typically come to find that there's only two ways and they're both referrals. The first is through the champion right. If I've developed a couple of champions that I've delivered for in the past and he or she has got great runway inside of the account I can I can have that great conversation and say, Hey, Rachel, the other thing we're going to have to do is get the CFOs perspective on this. How do we do that? I've earned the right to ask you for that through how I've performed for you in the past. Typically I'm going to get that...

...one or the other. Either you're going to take me to his or her office or you're going to go get it for me, and you're a champion, so I can trust that you're going to do it. The other option is through my other network of executives, because and I have a twin brother who happens to be an executive and I am able to bounce ideas off him like this all the time, and he will tell you that if another executive refers you to them, your chances of getting that meeting just went up like exponentially. The only reason you wouldn't get that meeting would be if that executive were to say, yeah, that's just not a problem of dealing with right now. But even then, as pat said, he said even then eventually you'll probably get that meeting with me. That's all I need to hear. The that referral from one executive to appear is the best thing you can have. But the only way to get that is to have delivered for that executive in the past and have positive business intent, because that's how executives think. They think in terms of their business first. They don't care that your company's...

...name is on the PL take care about the outcomes that you're helping them drive. When you can do that, you'll have people referring you for life. Yeah, and another component of that, I think, are your linkedin connections and your social capital that you have. Research. There's a lot of social media research out there that show that executives, before they meet with a vendor, they're going to look and see who that person's connected with. Yeah, to see if their colleagues are also connected to yeah, that's right, and now I find I do. I have to tell I chuckle when I hear people say, Oh, I don't want to go check somebody's linkedin profile, and I'll ask him why. I'll they'll say what, because thee'll know I checked it, and I chuckle and I say that's the point. The point of linked is so that you can look at other people's profiles and connections, and that's the point of social media. Got that? It's okay, but I think it also speaks to the to the proofpoint conversation. I know it's kind of nibbling around the edges on that a little bit, but this idea that when I do great work for an executive or a group of people inside of a company and I earn the right to get that proof point, I...

...earned the right to go back later and say, do you remember we talked about helping you get to the following business outcomes? We delivered the following things in such a way or that over the last six, nine, whatever twelve months, we've helped you get to these types of outcomes. We agreed that I would get the credit for that. I want the proof point because I need to be able to share that story internally with your company, with your peers, and I also want to be able to share that story with other executives who I think we can help, and I've also like to get your help in getting to some of those people. That's but if you think about everything is said, that's all about the negotiation on the front end as well, which is a totally different subject, I know, for another day. Right, I think is the the idea of creating these proof points is a critical part, because that's what tells another executive who you haven't met before that you actually do have the clients business in mind. First, positive business intent right, and we always say in command of the message. Today's managers and positive business outcomes are tomorrow's proof point. That's right. Today's business outcome conversation is tomorrow's group point. Right, yeah, so focus on them and be...

...diligent. That's right. With them. So, Brian, what's the bottom line when it comes to building positive business and tent? So I think it's this. I think it's a mindset. I think it's a mindset that says that I'm confident in the idea that one I and my organization can add valuable perspective to the conversation before I have to start talking about my products and solutions, and that my products and solutions are only important if they're a great fit for the business issue and the future outcomes that the client is really trying to get to and that I've helped them think about helping them solve for because, if you think about it, if I do this well early, because I'm a huge believer in losing early. If you're going to lose, I'd rather lose early right. Qualify in and out early and often. It's kind of like voting in Chicago early and often, and I'm from the Midwest, I'm allowed to say that. But the point is this that if I do this...

...well, I've qualified the deal a lot better and then I know that I actually belong in such a way that I've now created a perspective. That said, I care about you first. The reality is I care about you first. That's just in terms of how I act and how I talk, and then when I start to pivot and talk very specifically about myself, people are listening because they realize that everything is coming out about myself is attached very specifically to what we're trying to help you soll for and where you're trying to go. That's the bottom line. That's great. Thank you, briant. Some great tangible points. I'm building that positive business intent how I become a trusted adviser. Hope you all found this podcast valuable.

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