July 20, 2023
Top rep see’s himself as a service provider
Top rep see’s himself as a service provider
I had a conversation this week with a rep who just closed an 8-figure deal which was 20x the average deal size at his company. When I asked, ‘how did you do it?” he said his mindset was that of being a provider of a high-end service, not a seller of a product.
This may sound simple or for some, obvious - but when product sellers learn how to become excellent service providers, absolute magic happens.
On today's newsletter, I'm going to tell you a personal story about the impact of a great service.
But before we get started, if you're an enterprise seller looking for a peer group to learn and grow with, apply to Enterprise Sellers community here. Get small-circle access to the best and brightest minds in enterprise sales. I'm talking guys (and gals) closing 7-8-9 figure SaaS deals. Get peer coaching, daily access to me, and so much more. Apply here.
Great Service Story
This summer I went on a faith-based pilgrimage. It was very much like a guided tour of historically significant places. Every day we would take buses or walk long distances to visit holy sites. The entire experience was amazingly coordinated and executed flawlessly. The tour buses were clean, on time, with friendly drivers. The weather was hot, so they provided chilled, filtered, citrus soaked water at every location.
The tour guide was incredible. He was friendly and welcoming, well-prepared and each day he would have a new folio of papers preparing him for what he would tell us about the significance of each site. Not just historical facts, but stories about the protagonists, their struggles and victories. He also provided resources where we could dive deep into any of the topics that he addressed.
Between sessions he would engage individual members of the group, answer their questions and if he couldn’t answer completely, he would do the research that evening and would approach them the next day with what he had learned. One day he took the time to introduce me to a colleague who was deep in a topic I had asked about. His colleague and I sat down and had a deep conversation for almost half an hour.
The guide had the thoughtfulness to ask our preferences on how to handle a situation where one of the younger kids wouldn’t be able to attend because of the steep climb. He wanted to make sure the little one didn’t feel left out.
He set up a WhatsApp group for us to be able to communicate with each other, post pictures and stay in touch after the trip.
Once he had brought us to a site and shared his stories, he would encourage us to walk around, observe and experience the space. He was always available to answer questions but stayed to the side so as not to be a distraction for those enjoying their own experience.
The way he choreographed our hour-by-hour experiences prompted different emotions - reverence, calm, surprise and delight. He would say, “we have two surprises for you today, so be on the lookout…”
He left us with the clear understanding that he cared about us individually and wanted us to have an experience that would have an impact on our lives.
At the end of the day, this one person, the tour guide, had an outsized influence on the impact the trip had on our whole family.
You can have the exact same outsized impact on your customers if you deliver an A-class buying experience.
Back to our 8-figure seller…
When I asked him what he did differently to land such a large deal here's what he told me:
“When I really look back at the deal, I offered a 'buying process as a service.' For the first time I saw myself as responsible for delivering an unforgettable experience, not selling a product. It was a transformative mindset shift.
I offered my customer’s stakeholders a guided experience. I took all of the best individual meeting/event types I had done or seen other reps at my company do. I put them all together into a series of experiences that took the customer from being unfamiliar with the world of solutions that could address their problem - as well as zero knowledge about my company, our products or our customer’s experiences - to well-informed about their options. Then I showed them through experiences why our solution was the best choice for their specific reality.
I exposed them to:
1. The evolution of how companies have addressed this problem. What worked, what didn’t.
2. The various approaches (not all are software) to tackle the problem.
3. What the experts say - Analysts, bloggers, boutique subject matter expert consultant.
4. A headquarters visit where I introduced my management team and product owners.
5. Customer stakeholders - I brokered 1-1 reference calls without us around to feel like it was staged.
6. Used our value engineering team to support the customer’s effort to build a business case by helping them create their own way of measuring their current state, identifying metrics they want to improve.
7. We did a time-bound PoC with their own data (that took time to get approved but was massively worth it).
I tried to anticipate their needs at every stage of their journey.
I prepared supplementary material for every experience and recordings of most sessions so they could go deeper into relevant topics and be more fully present in the sessions because they knew they did not need to take notes.
I tried to always put myself in their shoes. For example, as I planned each session, I would think, what questions would I be left with after a session like this? What would be the next thing I would want after experiencing this session?'"
The lesson here for all of us is that even if your company is chaotic and lacks sales rigor and process, you as the rep are the face of the company and can shield your customer from the mess. You have immense influence over the buying experience.
You can engineer experiences in such a way that can make your company look much better than it is in terms of servicing customers.
Provide them everything they need to understand:
- the optimal buying process
- the nature and source of the problem
- The most likely ways to fix the problem
- The capabilities they need to fix the problem
- The internal change needed to fix the problem
- The formula for achieving a successful project
- Things not to do, biggest mistakes
- “What’s in it” for each stakeholder type
- The most successful sellers treat selling as a high-end service.
- At every stage of the process, imagine what the customer would want at that point and give it to them before they ask - anticipate their needs and desires.
- You, the seller, are the face of your company and as such you have outsized influence on the buying experience of all customer stakeholders.
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