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+

Social Marketing is Relationship Selling

 The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan

The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan

Mainstream small business will more reliably get better results from social media if they view it more as selling than marketing. Why?

Because effective relationship selling is personal, and now marketing is too. As social influences continue to profoundly affect business, just about every business activity is going to require relationship building skills.

Traditional marketing or advertising was something you did – to your communities. Whereas, social marketing in our digital environment is something we do – with our communities. That feels a lot like selling to me.

So, an important question is what aspects of your selling process reliably bring in new business? Then consider how you can make that more personal, and as a result, more relevant to today’s buyer.

Adapt to Today’s Buyer

The common expression, “What got you here won’t get you there” – is mostly untrue.

The truth is: It will. All you have to do is know your strengths and learn to ensure their relevancy for the inevitable changes in the business environment.

When I was launching my residential landscape business in the late 80’s I used a practice to educate my communities. That practice – known today as content marketing – was my primary means for generating leads (with referrals from happy customers being the other source of new business).

My only challenge in adapting what worked well was translating from a print to this digital platform where my future customers are likely to be found.

So, how did your business build relationships with new buyers? Give that some thought, because your growth practices are still valid, especially if you figure out how to adapt them to the new habits of your buyers.

For example, if your business growth is the result of efficient production methods that speak for themselves, then that is a vital selling factor that you should continue to use. Now you can easily amplify that using videos to reach buyers where they are – which today is usually online.

A Valid Process is Your Guidance System

Your sales process is more than a series of steps. It is a guidance system that makes everyone aware of what should be happening, and how to get it back on track if it isn’t.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, most people admire what is reliable. This is why having having a valid process that keeps your you and your sales team focused on the right variables is something that gives your buyers confidence in working with your company.

Learn to use your sales process to differentiate your business. The majority of companies are busy selling their products and services. As a result, it all sounds the same to the buyer, because they are all  focused on what they doproducts and services.

Whereas, the business that focuses on how they do it better is the one that will earn the attention of today’s buyer. And that is accomplished by first selling your process – then your products.

Isn’t this what Zappos does? They are selling the same shoes as every other merchant, but the process for acquiring those shoes is what made their business the market leader.

It’s all about considering how buyers would buy if they could – and then giving them that process.

The bottom line is a valid process builds trust, and that makes it essential for your social marketing AND relationship selling.

Want to learn more about refining your sales process and using it to differentiate your business? It’s covered in detail in Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.

When you learn to build a process for your social marketing that is based on basic relationship selling practices, you will never look back – because you will be forever focused on the two things that matter most:

  1. Your business strengths
  2. How your customers ideally want to buy

What are your thoughts? Please share them in a comment.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)