Agile Selling: How to Quickly Win with Buyers Today

This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff KorhanThis is Episode 3 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Join me and Jill Konrath as we tackle some of the challenges of selling that are just as relevant today as  they have been for probably most of the modern era of marketing.

If you want to know how to sell in today’s ever-changing environment, you will want to listen to this the conversation. Forget about becoming an overnight selling success and learn from Jill what really works.

Agile selling isn’t just the title of Jill’s book, it’s what we all need to be doing to be relevant to buyers whose expectations are higher than ever.

Our Featured Guest: Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath is the bestselling author of SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies – and recently released, Agile Selling.

Jill’s expertise has been featured by ABC News, Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, Inc, and many others. She’s full of great advice and fresh strategies for winning NEW customers in today’s evolving sales environment.

Close the Marketing to Sales Gap

Jill believes there is an inherent gap between marketing and sales because their respective charters are usually quite different. Marketing is often tasked with creating awareness, with sales responsible for closing deals that bring in revenue.

Agile Selling with Jill KonrathCustomers these days often do not differentiate between marketing and sales, which means organizations need to get everyone working together. Episode 1 guest John Jantsch noted that sharing the responsibility for social media communications is an ideal place to begin.

Jill points out that more deals are lost because the customer fails to make a decision. Getting mixed signals from the sales and marketing teams is certainly one reason for buyers to choose the very common version of saying no – staying with the status quo.

Ask Customers How You Can Serve Them Better

Like many other sales and marketing pros, Jill strongly encourages learning as much as you can about your buyers. This means going beyond published information to ask important questions.

Is your business aware of how it can help your customer at every stage of the buying cycle? This is absolutely necessary if you expect to differentiate your business in selling situations. Asking the tough questions that others are not is a powerful way to earn their attention and trust.

Learn to be a Quick Learner

According to Jill Konrath, the most reliable way for succeeding at sales is to simply be useful and helpful. Her recommendation is to learn to be a quick learner. Agile Selling

Jill notes that even at the executive level, studies show the one core skill for success is the ability to be a quick learner. This requires focused attention and disciplined methods for learning. This could be as simple as making learning a game that challenges your perceived limits.

We all make mistakes in our work, but developing a practice of learning enough from them to then never repeat the same mistake is a habit of agile sellers. It’s actually the foundation for success in every endeavor, while also being a surefire practice for refining your selling process.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Jill’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Learn how to learn.

Her Favorite Productivity Tip – Protect yourself against distractions.

A Quote that has Inspired Jill’s Success – “Never say never.”

Key Take-Aways

  • Learn how to help your buyer at every stage of the buying cycle.
  • Differentiate your business in selling situations by simply being helpful
  • Learn more about Jill and her many selling resources at
  • Check out Jill’s Fresh Sales Strategies LinkedIn Group

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How is your business adapting its selling practices to an environment where buyers have new expectations?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Market Like You Understand Your Customers

Purple Cow

One of the most underrated qualities in business is understanding the customer. On many levels this is significant, but especially for marketers that want to attract the attention of an audience.

Assuming you have the technical capabilities, there is one a simple test for determining if your marketing is likely to be attractive to your audience.

Which one of the following describes your marketing?

  • Look at Me.
  • Look at Me Looking at You.

Running a better business these days is a shift from the traditional marketing mindset. Customers today are already looking –  that’s what the Internet does so well.

When they find your business, customers want to quickly know you understand them – or they are gone.

How can you communicate this? Here are three suggested practices.

#1 – Be Humble

This hardly seems like a business quality, but it may well be one of the most important today. True leaders earn the attention of their communities not by showing off, but by being humble enough to learn.

Being humble is a quality that shifts your attention from your business to that of the customer – and it’s an important one. Even if you do understand your customers well, they may not yet know that. This is why it’s essential to listen, observe, and patiently earn their trust.

It’s tempting to assume you have what he customer wants, even if you do. Taking a little extra time to be considerate of them will create the alignment that is is necessary for building a successful relationship.

There why being humble is one of the ten core values of Zappos – it works.

#2 – Speak the Language of Your Customers

My friend Marty Grunder owns a successful landscape company. Recently he published a newsletter in which he responded to the suggestion that he stop referring to landscape companies as landscapers, and instead use the more professional terms, such as landscape contractor.

Years ago I was struggling with the optimization of my landscape company website when I discovered the magic of speaking the language of the customer. The words your customers use are more than information; they are part of their DNA.

The right words resonate, instantly making a connection by communicating a mutual understanding.

More important is that good SEO requires using the words and phrases that your customers are using. When I surveyed my landscape customers back then they overwhelmingly responded that landscaper was the term they would use to describe companies like ours.

2013-08-31 Grunder Landscaper

Try it. Survey your customers. You may be surprised at what you learn.

There are many free tools for accomplishing this, such as Survey MonkeyWufoo, or my preference, the Google Docs form builder.

While there are many online keyword search tools, such as Google Adwords, nothing works as well for small businesses in local communities as feedback from real customers.

#3 – Ask Questions

Questions are amazingly powerful for creating alignment with your customers.  First, asking questions shows you care.

Just asking the right questions shows you have a solid understanding of your customers. What you learn after that only serves to better refine your knowledge of that customer base.

Traditional sales and marketing was transaction oriented. However, the better selling and marketing methods today are inherently focused on the relationship.  A key component of a successful relationship selling process is asking good questions that help the business learn what they don’t know.

Be humble. Learn what you don’t know. Ask questions.

Customers today hope they are buying into a relationship with a business, not just executing a transaction. They want to know you will support them long after the first sale. It’s an expectation.

Remember the days of 100% Guaranteed? That’s history.

“Of course it’s guaranteed, that’s why we bought from you.” That’s what your customers are thinking.

Naturally, just your being here is a good indication that you understand that.

Over to you now. Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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