Sponsored by Equinix
Marianne van Duin, Regional Vice President, Sales. Photo courtesy of Equinix.
At Equinix, we do sales differently. Our sales reps and account managers are empowered to transform how they conduct business by shifting gears to become trusted advisors to our customers. By doing so, we can excel and build long-term partnerships with our customers. With a trusted advisor role, revenues, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction will increase. Who doesn’t want this?
Further, this shift to a trusted advisor role is imperative in today’s fast and ever-changing digital economy. Customers today can obtain product information and have access to information without ever talking to a salesperson. So, in today’s world, customers expect salespeople to act as trusted advisors. Customers are anticipating that a salesperson has done their research and can provide useful value and knowledge.
But what does being a trusted advisor really mean? Well, by being a trusted advisor, you have the ability to diagnose a client's business problems and challenges, and then make the right recommendations to improve their situation. A trusted advisor does not push a product; they focus on the customer’s ROI and TCO and make decisions about what’s best for the customer. A trusted advisor can be viewed as a subject matter expert. They stay updated on the latest industry, company, and competitor news.
Once you adopt a trusted advisor role around the customer, you can tailor your sales approach to address their specific requirements, needs, challenges, and pain points, as well as provide personalized solutions to your customers. This will definitely build trust and show that you genuinely care about meeting their needs — which will help strengthen your relationship and customer loyalty.
As for how you can become a trusted advisor, here are five top skills that you need to develop:
Active listening is important, and every sales employee should practice this skill to truly understand your customers' challenges and concerns. Customers should be able to express their thoughts, and then we should actively engage them in a meaningful conversation. By listening attentively, you demonstrate empathy and show the customer that their input, opinions, and needs are valued.
Let’s not forget that salespeople also need to stand out from the competition they are facing. Differentiation is a key issue. Salespeople are the most important agents when it comes to setting their companies apart from the competition.
Salespeople should also keep their prospects and customers engaged. If you want to get the most out of your efforts, you need to know how to keep your prospects intrigued and enthusiastic throughout the entire process.
To be a trusted advisor, you’ll also have to develop your ability to think innovatively. Customers and prospects look for trusted advisors who understand their challenges and pain points, and who can offer solutions to overcome these challenges. Salespeople should not be afraid to offer new ways to handle “old” problems. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, be different, and be innovative.
Get to know and develop empathy with your customers. Before approaching a customer or prospect, take the time to find out more about their company, their products, and their challenges. You should ask yourself questions, including: Who are their target customers? Who are their competitors? What are their challenges? Once you have done your background research, tailor a message that aligns with the answers you found.
As for empathy, in the context of customer relationships, empathy allows you to put yourself in your customer's shoes and see things from their perspective. By doing so, you can create a deeper connection with your customer, build trust, and foster a sense of understanding and rapport. One of the primary objectives of sales is to establish relationships with customers that will lead to successful transactions. Building trust is a crucial part of this process as it creates a foundation for future interactions. However, creating stronger relationships goes beyond simply establishing trust. Empathy is a key component in developing deeper connections with customers.
Want to take the next step in your Sales career? Equinix is a great place to do just that! Check out open jobs at the company via the link below. You can also learn more about growing a Technical Sales career at Equinix here.
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