Dan Dawson wants to be challenged.
As the Senior Partner and Chief Sales Officer at Force Management, that means being an expert consultant on what issues buyers are trying to solve – even before they do.
In this Hey Salespeople episode, Dan and Jeremey discuss the benefits of doing your homework before getting into the room with a prospect.
Listen here, and keep reading for some of the highlights from this episode below.
Jeremey: I got to understand, I think a much broader perspective of what Force Management does. So their focus is really on organizational transformation. The end result of that is that it helps accelerate revenue growth, valuation, and profitability.
We’ll get into what that means, in particular, some of their programs and some of the actionable insights that come from their command of the sale program and their command of the message program.
But before we do that, I love to ask the usual two questions I ask our guests which is: What’s your favorite sales book of all time and why?
Dan: Selling to the C Suite comes to mind. The reason why it does is because of one of the basic tenets that we have here at Force Management. If there’s no business issue or business opportunity, there’s probably no business.
So how do a seller and the purveyor of solutions, let’s call them – whether that’s technology or services or combinations of those things or products – How do they come to understand and have insight into why a company would use their products? Honestly, if sellers aren’t doing that, and I’m not doing that as an individual, and asking myself, why would they see value in this?
I’m hard-pressed to understand why would I be spending time on it.
Now there’s plenty of people who sell in a commodity way; in my view, that’s not very interesting. Interesting and challenging is more than that. And that’s much more of a consultative relationship and challenge for a seller to do that. But it’s much more rewarding as well.
Jeremey: It’s something we were talking about just beforehand that, you know, you and I have both had experiences where people call us trying to sell to us. And they just seem to want to get to the demo as fast as possible. What are your feelings about that approach?
Dan: I personally have a challenge with that, because you could actually be detracting value from the buying side of the equation and the buyers’ point of view. By doing that, by rushing someone into a situation that is ostensively advancing your sales process, you could be incorrectly assuming that you’re making progress.
And in fact, detracting from what the buyer might perceive to be useful and valuable to them. I can understand going to a demo and providing it early on in a conversation with someone to maybe educate them a little bit, but it certainly, you don’t even know why they would be looking at it at that point, other than by assumption.
So aligning with the buyer, and what we find is getting in front of that an understanding of back to the C suite idea: Why would they need this? Coming to the table with a hypothesis – having done a little bit of homework – can pay huge dividends.
Jeremey: On the homework side, I mean, I guess that might get a little bit into your command of the sale. I keep calling it a program, but what’s the right – How should I be describing that?
Dan: Command of the sale is one of the primary areas of focus that we have.
Command of the sale is really about how do we as the purveyor of these services and products, understand what that value is and help our buyers in the buying process initially make progress toward outcomes that they’re trying to achieve and stay aligned with them in that process? Which in some cases, I mean, it certainly isn’t always aligned with what we’re trying to accomplish.
And we’d love to take shortcuts, all of us, and get there faster. But we got to go with this pace of the buyer. And so we work in that area as well, this sort of messaging and sales conversation fits into the goal of the process, those conversations transform, but the true north for those conversations should always be about the outcomes for the buyer.
Jeremey: If you think about some of the components that sit within say command of the sale, I know that you guys are big proponents of a sort of modification of medic to med pick, is that one of the elements, for example, a command to the sale or is that somewhere else?
Dan: It is it actually works in both of these. The sales conversation and the way to think about that, what that’s made up of, value-oriented conversation, that’s about outcomes. It starts with the before scenarios and then the after scenarios. Why do anything, right?
It’s usually because of the negative consequences that they may or may not know about on the buyer side. So sometimes that’s your slightly different challenge for a seller: to help them understand an unrecognized need versus help with a need that is recognized. And then on the other hand, and as far as the med pic is concerned, or medic, we tend to modify that where the buyer needs and desires to modify the P is paper process.
So sometimes those buyers are in a particular market for a particular company selling something. The paper process is critical. And it doesn’t necessarily indicate that it’s more or less commoditized or anything. It’s just an important aspect of it. And it’s difficult to forecast if you don’t understand that process because it can be extenuated.
I’ve seen contract paper processes last actually more than a year, versus very quick ones in other cases. Medic actually fits into the conversations using those and certainly the process. Where is the customer? What do we know about those metrics that they care about? What do we know about the economic buyer in medic, for example?
That’s that C suite, right back to that same topic. Who there really cares about those outcomes, which drives the need for our product or solution possibly
If you have a passion for the art and the science of sales, are looking to further your career, or just want to hear some great, practical tips, ‘Hey Salespeople’ is the podcast for you. Subscribe so you can follow along as Jeremey interviews the brightest minds in modern sales to bring you immediately actionable advice. Listen and subscribe here.