Succeeding On The “Proving Ground” Of Sales
I hope this report finds you and yours well. As 2020 comes to a close, the final issue of the Executive Report for the year is about finding success on the “proving ground” of sales.
In a previous issue, we talked about discovering your competitive advantage and using it to attract customers. Building on this, focus on solving your customer’s problem, not just shouting out your specialty. While this will attract people, keeping them around requires demonstrating your ability to erase their pain. Your solution needs to be the best for their situation. Don’t just focus on lower prices or same-day shipping.
This doesn’t mean that price, product, or deliverability can’t be your competitive advantage. Continue to emphasize these in your marketing, but be prepared to demonstrate how they work for your customer. Maybe you ship replacement tools overnight, so your customers don’t lose much time when tools break. Shape your advantage into solving a problem for the customer. Your advantage is your avenue to success on the “proving ground” of sales.
A proving ground is where someone proves their skill, demonstrates their performance, the arena where they can showcase their ability. Much like a car driven around a test track or software in a beta version, proving your effectiveness to your customer is critical for success. As more time is spent on the test track or in public testing, the car’s performance is dialed in, and the software improves dramatically. The proving ground in sales is similar, allowing you to prove your effectiveness to your customer.
We recently visited our proving ground with a customer who was confused with a skylight detail on a metal roofing installation. Instead of emailing a generic guide, one of our technical salespeople created a video addressing the problem and sent it the same day. This level of service made all the difference to the customer, who said he knew his metal roofing supplier for life now. Taking the time to create this custom video made things as easy as possible for the customer. Rather than watching an old video on a general problem, he received a video on his exact situation, which made all the difference.
We took our advantage, personal communication and rapid response, into the proving ground of a difficult construction detail and won our customer over. We earned a lifelong customer who treasures our approach to solving his metal roofing problems. If you can show your solution’s effectiveness to your customers, success is sure to follow. This is the beauty of integrating your competitive advantage and your approach to the proving ground. You reach the customer with your strongest offering right where they need it most.
Thanks for reading the Executive Report, good luck on the proving grounds, and here’s to a great 2021.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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