Saturday, May 5, 2012

Snap Selling

Today’s subject: Snap Selling by Jill Kornrath. A compelling read, I was so impressed that I put its concepts to practice with amazing results.

Jill Kornrath is a top notched, old fashioned, by the numbers, by the book, copy machine sales person who wrote the book as a result of poor numbers and  consequential loss of income. By exercising her own Kaizen, she was able to overcome her demons and failures.  She "defined the problem"  "identified the process" and "determined root cause," after which realizing that tried and true methods and techniques of past were useless and ineffective in this new business environment that faces dire economic challenges, newly structured LEAN management practices, added responsibilities, and electronic wherewithal.

A new set of rules for buying requires change.

Currently I'm responsible for purchasing quality material from the lowest bidder on a "Just in Time" (JIT) basis. Stories where manufacturing scheduled production within hours of a truck rolling in with the raw materials championed this Lean cause. JIT, however, has its consequences and not having when machine and labor are in midstream production is more destructive than having idle job stacks available weeks in advanced.

With that said, Ms. Kornrath says that companies with Lean infrastructures and controls utilize less employees to perform similar functions. One buyer said his staff was reduced to two when, in the past, required six to do the same work.

According to Kornrath, this new customer finds his/her time more constrained (Reference VOC). Decision makers are now “frazzled," and have very short attention spans. A sales person, when in the past was trained to go through this whole “needs analysis” question and answering session, complete with “death by Power Point presentation” and binders of information, has only seconds to get his/her point across. She uses terms like “20 second rule” and “get to the net” to explain this process.  For example when a sales person makes a phone call to a prospect, the customer most likely has a person in his room, is staring at a computer, writing on a note pad, and thinking about who to lay off this week so that he can meet budget, while trying to get home early enough to catch his son's soccer game.

As a buyer, I see myself in the same position, spending less time with sales reps; and if immediate solutions aren't available during that phone call, the discussion ends.  I don't mean to be rude, but there's just way too much to be done in a day's time, idle talk or long winded sales pitches not in the schedule.

Kornrath in her book introduces the acronym:  SNAP.

Simplicity
iNvaluable
Alignment
Priority

Keep your presentation SIMPLE;
Make sure that your pitch has VALUE;
That what you present is in ALIGNMENT with what the buyer needs;
That second…right now…immediately (PRIORITY).

She said that if a salesperson makes the mistake of attempting anything different he/she will end up in the dreaded “D” zone; “D” meaning “decide” “delay” “delete” “diminish” “don’t know” "don't call me, I'll call you."

As simple as it sounds, the process is not easy. It takes work. A salesperson has got to be:

More organized;
Prepared to add more steps to his already lengthy sales process (especially in the ALIGNMENT and PRIORITY phases) to include strategic e-mails, faxes, mail-outs, webinar invitations, newsletters, copies of appropriate news articles, voice messages, references;
Creative with a "less is more" attitude; and
Able to communicate clearly and to the point, recognizing the best and right time to ask for the order (VSM).

Sales and marketing have a great deal to learn about SNAP Selling as it provides a distinct solution to their “D” diminished sales. (Reference: Define the problem/identify the process (which could be broken); Measure the CTQ factors; Analyze root cause (current arcane sales methods); Improve by implementing SNAP principles; Control by sustaining gains from new sales.

A must read for success in this new business world.

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