The reward for most pioneers is hardship and death – often from hostile conditions or ferocious incumbent natives. The settlers who come later are the ones who tend to prosper. And here is the quandary today... we want to implement disruptive market strategies to find blue ocean to redefine customer value but what's the realty of execution and how can we succeed?
Forgive the religious metaphor but there are three types of people that are needed to pioneer new solutions and markets: evangelists, missionaries and disciples. Or put another way...
"To pioneer new markets we must be able to convert people's thinking, enable them successfully in doing things a better way with us, and then create passionate advocates who support us."
The most important ingredient throughout all phases of building new markets is passionate belief. Here is my own definition of Re·la·tion·ship Sell·ing: Building relationships of genuine rapport and trust for a buying decision in the best interests of all concerned. The sale is achieved through the transference of belief and the delivery of tangible value supported logically with facts and evidence.
This scene from the movie Walk The Line highlights the point brilliantly (and it is a true representation of what actually happen with Johnny Cash during his recording audition. He was selling his happy gospel music but his audience did not believe him. He pivots to something dark but from the heart... his belief in what he was doing was irresistible. Every entrepreneur and sales person needs to be a true believer and then have the courage to share their message.
Steve Jobs, Bono and Richard Branson are examples of leading commercial evangelists. They passionately set a vision and bring people along with them (Steve Jobs past tense). But once you've converted people you need to be an educator and role model to help people become successful with your new approach. Customer churn / loss is the direct result of failing in this phase. It's true that a sale is only a sales when their money is in your bank account but a customer only becomes a customer only when they are realizing the benefits of your product, service or solution.
Are you your own best customer? If not, how can you possibly ask others to invest in what you're selling?
We must be expert in applying what we sell and authentic in the solutions we offer. Steve Balmer reportedly took an intense dislike to anyone at Microsoft who used Android or Apple products. He was passionate about his own products and this video is proof....
Once you've converted customers and helped them become successful, you then need to establish them as advocates who will help you convert others. Be committed to post implementation reviews and accountable for benefits realization. Ask whether the promises you made during the evangelism / sales phase where delivered at the end of the day. Follow-up for a case study. Be there for the customer when there are problems.
Customer Experience is the most powerful form of competitive differentiation so measure NPS (customer satisfaction and advocacy) scores, the number of reference customers and published case studies. The smartest sellers have their customers as their sales force. Monitor social and become an obsessed listener monitoring sentiment, complaints and opportunities.
Modern selling is about creating an agenda of insight and value while utilizing technology to create leverage and reach. We can transparently build trust online to support our efforts, and we can intelligently transform the way we sell.
Be a passionate true believer in the value you offer. Be committed to the success of your customers and help them to become your followers and advocates.
If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:www.TonyHughes.com.au.
Main image photo from Joel Phillips.