Your Bulletproof Selling Resources Are Below
You Said It Was Important - Here Are Your Sales Systems On
Increasing Lifetime Value Of Customers/Upsells
FROM BULLETPROOF SELLING:
To ensure we are retaining the business of our customers, we must ensure we are continuing to remain relevant to their changing needs. For that reason, we advise that sales teams consistently look at their areas they can improve their products and services while also asking how their internal order handoff processes can be improved for a more pleasant customer experience.
From Chapter 20: Bulletproofing For the Future
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
TO SAY WE were traveling light in 2003 would be an understatement. Committed to achieving the objective of racing from Kuwait to Baghdad as soon as possible, the Marines I was with moved so fast across Iraq we often outpaced our supply lines. It was not uncommon to secure a town and then realize our food, water, and ammunition resupply wouldn’t arrive for a few hours.
Of course, our equipment was made for this type of mobility. The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or Humvees, lived up to their name. With wooden rails and benches forming their rear beds and nothing but cloth covering the driver and passenger doors, these vehicles were built for speed. Like a bunch of high schoolers packed into the beds of pickup trucks back home, all the Marines riding in back would jostle around as we sped towards our next objective.
That way of traveling, and that way of fighting, worked in 2003. By the end of my second tour in Iraq one year later, everything about those Humvees changed.
Instead of being tasked with racing through towns and across open desert, Marines were tasked with occupying cities, regularly patrolling the same routes. Our opponents realized the wooden rails and cloth doors wouldn’t stand up to bullets, let alone bombs, so they began placing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along our routes. Ever ready to adapt to a changing battlefield, Marines quickly bolted metal plates to the sides of their vehicles and rearranged the seating in the rear bed by installing a single row so Marines could sit facing out and scan their surroundings as they patrolled.
Seemingly overnight, we were traveling in armored vehicles. Something interesting happened that provided a key insight into how to leverage Bulletproof systems in adapting to change.
Specifically, the IEDs our enemies placed on the roads started getting bigger to keep up with our upgraded armor, easily cutting through the metal sheets we’d bolted onto the Humvees. Marines had to not only up-armor their vehicles with even thicker plates but also had to change the way we traveled to minimize the chances of encountering IEDs. The weight of our vehicles changed with the additional armor, affecting maneuverability. It quickly became apparent that the vehicles we’d relied on for more than a decade were not adapted to our new environment. By 2005, we were using an entirely different type of patrol vehicle that shielded everyone inside with bullet-resistant glass and thicker armor.
While the bombs salespeople deal with are of another variety, they do face landmines that can tank sales. As economic forces, pandemics, supply and distribution channels, and market shifts impact our customers, our way of selling must change to keep up.
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for solutions to appear before we can start addressing the coming changes. Because we’re using Bulletproof systems, we can adapt them as our salespeople begin to notice changes in their markets and customers, rather than when we are forced to change or lose our jobs.
Being willing to adapt to a changing environment, we’ll not only innovate at a more rapid pace than competitors, but also better serve the changing needs of prospects and customers.
How do we ensure we are upgrading our Bulletproof systems as the world around us evolves?
While your Lessons Learned program will give you a valuable source of feedback from salespeople on the front lines, we can also involve our entire organizations in regularly upgrading our Bulletproof systems. From the way our accounts receivable department processes customer payments, to the way our delivery teams schedule and deliver our product or service with our clients, to the ways our customer service department ensures our product or service continues to deliver ROI, to our maintenance and upgrade plans that keep our customers coming back – there is no place in a company where we can’t become Bulletproof. Sales teams should work with everyone in their companies that directly or indirectly serves clients to ensure clean hand-offs from the Bulletproof systems in one department to another.
And let’s not forget one of the most valuable sources of feedback for how we can continue to out-innovate every competitor: our prospects and customers themselves.
If we wait until we receive an annual customer satisfaction survey to do something about a systemic problem in the way we sell, deliver, and service our clients, we’re leaving massive gaps in our armor that competitors will be all too happy to exploit. Instead of waiting for a customer complaint, our salespeople and anyone in our company who interacts with our prospects or customers can take the time to gather lessons and share what they learn to adapt existing systems or stand up new ones.
Customer complaints and concerns are an invitation for our companies to become better at what we do.
Better at how we qualify prospects so we’re serving those who need us the most.Better at how we conduct outreach and enhance the methods our prospects best respond to.
Better at how we cut through the noise to demonstrate how our product or service can help in achieving prospect goals.Better at how we discover additional needs and opportunities in our prospects’ companies.Better at delivering more value than competitors.
Ultimately, being Bulletproof means thriving in the world of sales and actively leveraging the changes we’ll inevitably encounter. What does sales success look like in the future, when the future and the changes it brings are unknown? It’s ensuring that at the end of a sale, both our sales team and customers are measurably better than they were before. It means every customer knows this experience with our company is better than any transaction anyone’s ever had – because our sales team is actively learning, adjusting, and improving every week. By doing that, competition will have to hope they figure out why folks prefer to do business with your salespeople.But you’ll know the real reason. It’s because you stopped using hope as your sales strategy.Instead, you became Bulletproof.