Selling to Big Companies - Jill Konrath

Selling to Big Companies - Jill Konrath

Understand the differences faced when selling to large companies and learn how to succeed in this market.

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The author Jill Konrath presents a concise and targeted guide to help anyone who has an interest in selling to large companies. In the book "Selling to Big Companies", she includes several stories from her work experience and shares her knowledge learned in practice with her readers.

Here you will learn that big companies have different strategies to negotiate with sellers, and knowing that, it is vital to change your set of sales skills to go through and prosper in this market.

In this summary, we've separated the 9 main points of the book to facilitate the comprehension.

Got interested to increase your profits through big companies deals? Stay with us in this summary and discover how!

About the book "Selling to Big Companies"

"Selling to Big Companies" (2005) addresses the advices of Jill Konrath about why selling to large companies is different from selling to small businesses and what you can do to succeed in the big business sales game.

The book emphasizes the need to ask questions and offer solutions to a sale, as well as reinforce tips on elementary fundamentals such as how to write a cover letter or how to put together a roadmap for calling customers.

About the author Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath teaches about sales strategies, especially sales for large companies, and is a consultant. She is a specialist in strategies for complex sales and also has a website that is a vital source for salespeople that want to close a deal with big companies.

To whom is this book indicated?

The contents of this book is relevant to anyone who wants to learn about sales as it goes from the simplest concepts to value generation strategies.

We also believe that this book deserves to be on the shelf of all sales managers or marketers who are pursuing business with large companies.

Main ideas of the book "Selling to Big Companies"

  • Selling to large companies requires a specific professional approach;
  • Decision makers in large organizations face enormous pressure and are looking for people who can help solve their problems;
  • To get meetings in large companies, you need knowledge, precision, persistence and customer-specific value;
  • In today's competitive environment, you must shout to be heard;
  • To understand your value proposition, interview your current consumers;
  • Weak value propositions kill sales. Your value should be clear and specific. Compress your value proposition into one quick message;
  • Do lots of research;
  • Create a roadmap for your calls, emails and letters, so they can express your value proposition in a compelling way - ask for feedback on that material;
  • Avoid personal promotion.

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[Book Summary] Selling To Big Companies - Jill Konrath

Overview: No one is calling back?

Getting a sales meeting with corporate seniors from large organizations is very difficult. Many market factors come together to make large companies a difficult place to penetrate.

They are becoming global, constantly being reorganized and restructured, as they are dealing with continual change.

Technology has greatly increased the availability of information. In this way, customers and competitors know a lot about their products.

In addition, the competition is getting fiercer, even the best products attract many competitors quickly.

It is therefore important to find new ways to reach decision makers. So keep in mind:

  • They are under pressure. Do not think about wasting your time;
  • You compete with the status quo (current state of things);
  • No one wants to hear your sales presentation;
  • You need to leave your value clear from the start.

Overview: Selling Where You Can Make a Difference

Being focused is crucial. Don't try to sell to everyone. As you must become an expert in your customers' business, define your market carefully. Eliminate some opportunities so that you can do a better job with those that remain.

Analyze your customer base. What has helped you succeed with these organizations? The answer to that question will determine your competitive advantage. Follow these tips as you assemble your value proposition:

  • Focus on feedback and customer benefit;
  • Be specific. Include quantitative information: how much would be reduced, optimized time, and increased productivity;
  • You are an instrument. Your product only matters to the customer if it helps them solve a problem or make their jobs easier.

Overview: Creating a strong value proposition

Jill Konrath says to interview your current consumers and ask why they use your product or service. What did you help them realize that before they were not succeeding? Quantify the benefit with numbers.

Make use of corporate language, and support your case with facts. Your value proposition should talk about results, not aspects of the product. Relate this to important problems using quantitative and statistical metrics.

Quote real cases, as success stories help sell. Never approach the decision maker of a large company without having prepared a strong and solid value proposition. To demonstrate value to customers, learn as much as you can about your organizations.

Overview: Opening Doors

A key opens the door to large business accounts: knowledge. Do your homework before you start calling. Search to determine if your product or service will help the client.

You'll only have a few minutes with the decision maker of a large corporation, so be prepared to ask smart questions and offer good ideas that will make a total difference at that starting point.

In these rare moments, you should stand out as superior over any other seller, add more value. Your initial research should:

Help find a point of entry

You need to go through the door. Forget the big picture, focus on specific targets. Large firms have many departments and units, so identify which ones are most appropriate for your product. Don't waste the client's time.

Teach About the Interested Company

Learn about industry trends, how your customer is responding to them, any organizational change shifting, major initiatives, what makes the company to be successful, financial performance, its key decision makers and their main products, services, competitors and customers.

Show openings

An openness can be a current problem that you can use as opportunities if you show how your product handles this problem. If you are a sales merchant, watch out for a decrease in numbers, the introduction of a new product or a new entrant in the market.

Speak the language of the customer

Every company has its own dialect. Learn it. When you talk to people in this company, you should sound like someone inside.

Make use of corporate websites, which are excellent sources of specific information. Don't be afraid to interview clients, employees and other people related to your client.

Jill Konrath advices that you can even test the product or service your client offers to test and learn more about the company. Always be alert to important events such as mergers, change of leadership, new customers or new products.

This type of event can help you put together a more solid and relevant proposal for the customer.

Overview: Networking

Networking sometimes doesn't work, and many events turn out to be pointless for sales, since decision makers don't show up.

For your network to be effective, it takes great effort, including carving out a correct speech - a smaller version of your value proposition focused on problems, benefits and opportunities.

Once your speech is ready, find creative ways to meet relevant people. Use your contacts, like other sellers in related markets, former college mates or suppliers. Consider a strategic alliance.

Look for partners who can benefit by offering a collaborative solution to a problem in a large organization. The current market demands innovation and creativity.

For example, tell people about the companies you are seeking to reach, they can provide you with valuable information. Sometimes you can meet a decision maker through a friend of a friend. Don't be shy.

Overview: Getting to the decision-maker

Initially, identify who you are. Look for people in certain positions in the company. Most large organizations have mechanisms to keep important people far from the sellers range.

So instead of trying to find the vice president of this or that, Jill Konrath says to look for the people responsible for specific decisions. Ask for people who are facing a certain type of problem. While on this quest, don't try to sell, just ask questions.

Some phone strategies can help you find the people you are looking for. One trick is to get all the numbers of the operation's area of the company you are looking at. If you call internal extensions, you'll be able to talk to people who don't answer many calls and who may be willing to reveal some names.

In addition, you can use the following strategies:

  • Call an industry sales representative you want to join;
  • Use the "contact us" page of the company website;
  • Contact a small office of a large organization, someone there can help you;
  • Get the basic data: full name, direct number and email;
  • Use online forums and groups.

Overview: Do not wait for your return

Don't sit around waiting for people to return your calls. Have an aggressive and active campaign to get into the company. Consider everything you know about the customer and develop sales tools and a step-by-step approach.

Your sales kit should contain:

  • Routes with your value propositions according to specific clients;
  • Routes for telephone calls;
  • Guidelines for overcoming obstacles and responding to common objections;
  • Reference letters;
  • Success stories;
  • Pamphlets about your company;
  • Gift baskets and free samples;
  • Business cards and other light forms of communication.

You probably will not get a meeting on your first call. It may take 8 or 10 calls to establish personal contact.

Overview: Emails and letters

Emails represent a lot in today's corporate world. Jill Konrath gives some tips to deal with them more effectively:

  • Use a road map that is attractive and a sales tool;
  • Leave your credentials clear;
  • Include your value proposition so that the decision maker becomes aware of the importance of your product;
  • Eliminate any kind of self-promotion;

Emails and letters should be personal and focused on your proposal. Emphasize important events and business problems that matter to your client.

Overview: Dealing with Resistance

Do your homework to be prepared to deal with common objections. If the consumer is satisfied with the current supplier, use your knowledge about the company to clarify that you are offering something more.

If the customer asks for more information, make sure that your message is focused on the issues of the customer, not about aspects and characteristics of your product. Remember that follow-up calls are just as important as your initial call.

Use these principles when you eventually are in a presential meet. Don't be nervous or insecure. Your research has already taken you far.

What do other authors say about it?

Jeffrey Gitomer in "The Sales Bible" leaves his message: be honest with customers. If you want to help them, the feeling will be reciprocal, as this helps the process of creating trust and even fidelity to their service.

In the book "The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople", Stephan Schiffman points out that you should not use tricks such as stating that the person has just won a lottery. Successful salespeople inspire confidence, the brand of a good leader has vision, deserves respect, is responsible, has a clear sense of direction and confidence.

For the author of "The Psychology of Selling", Brian Tracy, successful people improve their inner dialogue with optimistic and confident phrases. For example, if you repeat the phrase "I like myself" throughout the day, your self-esteem will certainly increase.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Don't use old sales tricks. Instead, focus on help customers improve their work and solve their problems;
  • Build lasting relationships based on trust, not just the image of trust;
  • Be truly attentive, as customers will see the false concern. Make promises that you can keep.

These sales habits affect key areas: using communication skills, consciously planning and strategizing, sharing knowledge, seeking leads, being enthusiastic, being honest, following up, and creating visibility.

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Book 'Selling to Big Companies'