Consultative Selling: The Four "P"s"

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Most of you would be familiar with the four "P's" of Marketing: Product Price Promotion Placement What if we were trying to identify the four "P's" attributes of a successful consultative sales person? This idea has been distilling itself in my head for some time and I recently came up with these four attributes that I am now ready to share with you.
I believe that, although useful in any sales situation, and probably in any situation in life, these qualities are particular important in a consultative, long sales process, as found in the Building Industry, which has been my specialty for the last 20 years or so.
Here they are: Proactivity Persistence Performance Proficiency Let's develop each of them now.
Proactivity Well, you will agree with me that most business doesn't come to you on a platter...
If you are lucky enough to be in this situation, then move right away to the next 3 "P's"! So, you need to look for projects and clients rather than waiting for them to come knocking on your door.
You hear people saying (specially during and after the GFC...
) "there is not enough business out there", "where can I find new projects when nobody is building anything", "how can I find new clients when we have no money for advertising", and so on...
Let me tell you a true story: I was hosting the President of one of my American supplier in Paris, whilst France was in the middle of a fairly strong depression in the mid 90s.
We were discussing this and he said to me: "When the economy is down 20%, there is still 80% of the business out there, you just have to go and find these 80%".
That is one of the most eye opening things that anybody has said to me.
And for sure, if you go looking, and you know the adequation of your products or services to a particular slice of the market, then suddenly doors than were hidden to you before suddenly become wide open and you find new business even in a slow economy.
My father, who recently passed away, used to say to me: "Il n'est pas necessaire d'esperer pour entreprendre, ni de reussir pour perseverer" which loosely translate as: "It is not necessary to be hopeful in order to try, nor to be successful in order to persevere" - This has been a great help for me throughout my life.
Which gives a nice transition to our next attribute: Persistence By the time somebody has the idea of creating a new building, and the time this building is finally ready for occupation, it can easily take five or six years.
Let me outline the process to you: You need to organise the finance, buy the land, maybe demolish the existing building(s) on the site - and get approval for it - engage an Architect to prepare the design and get development approval, then fine tune the design, appoint a builder and then start pouring concrete...
Even if you are selling concrete or brick or structural steel, it may 2 or 3 years before you are going to see any money moving into your pocket.
If you are in lighting, door hardware, signs, tiles and carpets or bathroom fittings, you will have to wait another 12 to 24 months.
So, if you are the type of person that needs instant gratification, then get into a retail business where money comes in everyday.
If not you will need a good dose of patience and good humour to keep going! And you will need some tools to help you follow up these opportunities throughout this process.
By the way, this is what we teach at our "Unleash Your Specifications Sales" seminar.
Performance Now, after all this hard work and this time, you finally got the job.
Well, you are not finished yet: you need to deliver! You need to deliver a quality product, at the right price, on time and make sure that whoever is going to install your product on site will do it according to your and your client's expectations of quality.
As we say in the industry: "You are as good as your last job" Architects and specifiers, builders and subcontractors will come back to you over and over if you help them along the way getting their project off the ground with the minimum amout of hassles and dramas.
Let other people and suppliers screw up! Make sure your delivery is at the same level as the quality of the effort you put in to get your product specified in the first place.
If you do this consistently then you will reach the next level in the game and attain: Proficiency Here is a definition of the term from thesaurus.
com Main Entry:proficiency Part of Speech:noun Definition:ability, skillfulness Synonyms:accomplishment, advance, advancement, aptitude, competence, dexterity, efficiency, expertise, expertness, facility, formula, headway, knack, know-how, knowledge, learning, mastery, progress, savvy, skill, talent, what it takes Antonyms:clumsiness, inability, incompetence, ineptness So, it is like a well maintained motor.
I remember one of my clients near Paris was making diesel engines for boats, from very small to very big ones, in fact some so big that they were assembled in this huge hangar, fully tested for days or weeks (with the HP equipment I was selling them, obviously...
) and then once satisfied the motor was working perfectly, it was dismantled, packed in crates, sent to the shipyard and reassembled in the ship it was destined for.
And guess what: these motors run 24/7 for many years in all the container ships and cargos criss-crossing the oceans.
That is proficiency! So, when a consultative or specification sales person reach that level, it means he or she will have mastered the previous attributes of proactivity, persistence and performance.
I have met a few people over the years that had an innate ability to perform at that level, but I have also seen a lot more people embarking on this journey and mastering this process after training and coaching.
I have been fortunate to be taught these ropes along the way, and I have been lucky enough to be in the position to coach people to achieve their best performance.
I would welcome the opportunity to walk you and/or members of your sales team through this exhalirating journey.
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