Selling to New Leaders in Uncertain TimesArticle by Colleen Francis, July 17, 2022
Selling to new leaders in these uncertain times?
Sellers are reporting to me that they are selling to an unprecedented number of first-time managers and leaders in businesses today. I’m sure you are experiencing this too. These new leaders are filling roles vacated by those who’ve either retired or found new careers. And, it’s an incredible opportunity for all sellers to forge new relationships within your client’s organization and prove yourself as a valuable resource to them.
Many of these new leaders are young, relatively inexperienced, and no longer have access to the mentors who once trained them. Many don’t even know their own internal purchasing processes—let alone how to change a supplier.
But all leaders, regardless of their experience, look for confidence-building support and insight. You must be that resource to them. Here’s how!
Selling to New Leaders: 4 Tips
1. Influence Their influencers
In my new book, Right on the Money, I talk about how conversations in business today must happen with more people, across more channels, and multiple times daily. Here’s how you tackle it: Critical Mass Influence. That’s the vector of people who affect your ability to complete transactions within a tight timeframe daily. Reach out to all the influencers that new leaders turn to for advice. Doing so becomes the corporate equivalent to earning a string of five-star Amazon reviews. It secures your reputation as a trusted, valuable source of insights and information.
2. Be Their IBM
“Nobody gets fired for buying IBM.” Yes, that 20-plus year old mindset has reemerged, as new buyers are scared to take risks. People want known and trusted suppliers and solutions because their margin for risk is so low. Every value you communicate to your customer needs to make you look like the safe harbour in a sea of uncertainty—backed by social proof, referrals, and word of mouth.
3. Showcase Your Expertise Freely
It used to be said “never give away advice for free.” Not anymore. Today, it’s a must-do activity. It’s pointless to just present yourself as a salesperson to customers. They don’t need expert closers. They need trusted experts who can help them make better decisions in less time. Go out of your way to freely share what you know about the unique problems that new leaders in your client organization struggle with regularly and the solutions you can provide to solve these challenges.
4. Know Their Internal Processes
Customarily, new leaders are still learning to navigate within their organization. It’s reassuring for them to hear you say: “I’ve been through that problem hundreds of times.” Show them—based on your previous experience—where the pitfalls are in tackling their business problems. Show them solutions that have worked well for others. Provide examples. They will remember you for this, trust you, and choose you as the safest, most successful option.
Uncertain times are opportunities. Especially with new leaders. Leverage your knowledge and insights—reinforced by the social-proof power of referrals, testimonials, and case studies. The result will be powerful new relationships forged with those leaders in which your value to their organization is based on what you know and how well you can transform that into winning outcomes for them.