The Very Best Salespeople Coach Their Clients – They Don’t Sell To Them

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By Andrew Milbourn – CEO of Kiss the Fish Ltd and Chairman of Kiss the Fish Training Ltd

Well… the new year is well underway now; in fact, you can’t really call a year that is into the second month a ‘new year at all’.  So, what has the year got in store for SMEs and the sales teams of companies like yours?

I have read this week that talk of recession has been overstated by the Bank of England boss Andrew Carney, we won’t know the truth of that until it happens of course, but it does seem likely that business is going to be taking a downturn even if only for a few months rather than the years originally predicted. I am never that worried about what the financial people predict as having lived and thrived through more than four recessions (they happen roughly every 8 years although the last one was 12yrs ago) I am quite certain that they provide opportunity as well as challenges.

So, what should every good sales leader be focused on if times get tougher than they are now?

Kiss the Fish Ltd serves between 30 – 40 clients a year and some of those on an international basis. One thing we do is take note of is changes and trends in buying behavior and buying attitudes. In the last few years, there has definitely been a shift from buyers openly requesting and asking for information to them being self-sufficient and finding out all the information they need online. This ‘information’ inflation has led to sales teams struggling to have an impact, many feeling that buyers make up their minds on what to purchase and from whom before they are able to make contact directly.

This all may sound like a pretty depressing landscape to be managing sales teams in, but I am very happy to share with you the opportunity that we at Kiss the Fish see and are experiencing right now and that I am confident will maintain the fast growth we’ve been enjoying through 2022.

When buyers can access all the information they think they need, salespeople need to remember that their role will only be worthwhile if they aim to bring INSIGHTs to buyers and not just information.

What is an INSIGHT? – it is a relevant and distinctive piece of information that a buyer will find useful and to challenge their thinking – for their own benefit. The clue here is not that salespeople should be seeking out any old piece of news that they can find but that they get to know the client’s need to such a depth that they can become part of the business almost as an extra resource.

Start by reviewing how much money your product or service is worth to your clients…most companies haven’t got a clue because they don’t ask the clients for a better understanding of why they buy their products and what purpose they really serve.

A lot of our clients give away their amazing service levels – without even putting a price on it and just giving it away.

Once you understand that people will pay for things that help them make more money, it is an opportunity to build INSIGHTS around the value of things like ‘next day delivery’ or ‘product storage’ or even just being ‘financially sound’.

So, in 2023 what is going to be the key sales approach that wins more business than their rivals?

I can tell you that it is going to be those sales teams who are able to build close relationships with buyers and show that they can become useful to them with the Insights they bring.

The Kiss the Fish sales methodology is what we call – ‘CLIENT COACHING” – that is, we recognize that the only way to sell successfully is to coach a client to buy the right things from the right supplier.

Coaches have to bring a coachee to awareness before they can get commitment to change…well that’s what salespeople have to do in order to successfully pitch their products… Coaches build rapport and trust levels so that the coachee builds a commitment to the coach. That is exactly what good salespeople should be doing in order to become part of the buying framework for a client.

Very few people we see are even close to being the best salespeople, but they could be – they just need some awareness of what kind of salesperson they really are and then coaching to develop their skill levels.

The five stages of sales progression are:

NoviceSales novice
Product PresenterSales where product and price are the predominant conversation
Solution SellerThe best of the best manage to get so close to a potential client that they become part of the buyer’s decision-making process
Consultant SalesSales competency in which there is diagnostic questioning and matching of product to need
Client CoachThe best of the best manage to get so close to a potential client that they become part of the buyers decision-making process

The best of the best manage to get so close to a potential client that they become part of the buyer’s decision-making process

To help your team reach the very best performance you’ll need to help them with INSIGHTS – and if you feel that you would like help from the very best coaches then get in touch.

Kiss the Fish would love to help you and your team be the best you can be.

Contact your Kiss the Fish Regional Director below, for a no-obligation discussion where we will offer some insights that we know will prove helpful.

Thanks for reading.

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