Let’s be honest here…. sales of business and enterprise offerings have, for years, been about individual large transactions. It was a seller’’s market. Once committed, buyers were locked in until the next license renewal or upgrade. During that time, sellers would move on, chasing their next deal. You could only get their attention when the contract came up for renewal.
Success measurement used to be about how long it would take to break even on the initial upfront investment. It was an return on investment model. We used to talk about ‘transfer costs’ as barriers to change.
Fast forward to today
As we shift to an everything-as-a-service economy, transactions have become streams of renewing micro transactions. Today, the world is really a buyer’s market. Why? Because in an everything-as-a-service economy, buyers have options. Today, buyers have choices for solutions. Data is portable. Solutions are in the cloud. Time to launch is nearly instant. Now, there are virtual no transfer costs.
Success measurement is now about value. It’s now about what is the immediate value for the business, not after we pay off that initial up-front cost. Today, one rents a service, adds additional value and resells that service. It’s a service based economy and it’s measured in value for the customer.
What does social selling have to do with this?
A lot. Let me say it this way – everything. Why? In an everything-as-a-service economy, relationships are not just important – relationships are the currency of the as-a-service economy. Trust matters; credibility matters; service/helping/giving matters. Social media, business collaboration platforms and networking services enable totally new ways for buyers and sellers to engage and interact.
Winning today, is about helping and service.
Stop ‘selling’ and focus on ‘serving’
What does it mean?
- it means helping your clients by sharing valuable information
- it means listening for needs and proactively connecting to help
- it means building a robust network of experts to tap as a resource to bring value to clients
- it means demonstrating thought leadership and expertise by what you post/create/share
You need to stand out, differentiate, build trust, nurture relationships, offer advice and tips. This means purposeful engagement. This means being an intentional curator. These are the skills of today’s top sales rep – to sell anything-as-a-service, you need to be about ‘value-as-a-service’.
People no longer buy things. People buy people, they buy a brand, they buy an experience. When they find a person/brand/experience they like – they become loyal.
As a seller, what can you do?
- Be open to change.
- Create a LinkedIn profile that demonstrates your expertise and knowledge.
- Intentionally build your network of people who can bring added value around the solutions you sell, so that you can better serve and help your clients.
- Get in the mindset of giving / helping.
- Make time to listen to your marketplace, your industry, your clients thru social.
- Make time to purposefully engage with your clients and think of how you can help them… one small way at a time.
- Remind yourself that your LinkedIn and Twitter presence is the window that people view and evaluate you, that is your brand. What does you presence today say about you?
My best advice?
Concentrate on the next step. What is the next thing you can do? Just keep making steps, keep making improvements to your social presence, keep posting useful/helpful/valuable information, keep engaging with clients and influencers, and keep intentionally building a network.
This is a process of endurance, it’s not a sprint. This is a journey. Celebrate the small wins and use what you learn each day to do it better next the following day, be smarter, be more intentional, be more helpful.
Do this, and you will sell [read sustain and build] more [fill in the blank]-as-a-service.
I originally posted this on jimclaussen.com, but wanted to share it here to kick off a new series, based on inquiries and feedback from ExecutiveSocialAcademy participants, around concept of engaging with client’s in today’s connected economy – From Selling to Serving.