In our most recent podcast, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ian Altman
– the author of the international bestseller Same Side Selling
. Ian is a master in sales because he helps people understand the importance of shifting the focus from price to value. And we at Successful Culture International couldn’t agree more – one of the biggest challenges for many of the organizations we partner with is the desire to build a culture of value and growth. In today’s highly connected world, everyone in your organization has the opportunity to grow your business (even if their job title doesn’t say so) – today, we are all salespeople.
When you ground your culture with the core value
of integrity, you find opportunities for growth you may never have pursued – and build a great reputation along the way. Years ago, if your company upset one customer, that person may tell one friend. Today, if you upset one customer, they can hop on social media and tell one million friends and, well – not good for business. Integrity is everything today.
According to Ian, effective sales is not about persuasion or coercion. Instead, it’s about getting to the truth as quickly as possible – finding out what problem needs solved. On average, 50%
of prospects we seek are not a good fit for what we are selling. Think of all the time and effort wasted trying to fit that square peg in the round hole – sacrificing integrity and value just to close the deal. So, what needs to change to encourage real, sustainable growth? Your culture is a great place to start.
To build a culture of growth, we must view all employees as salespeople. And it couldn’t be simpler. When non-salespeople
spot a potential opportunity, Ian recommends they need to ask these 4 simple questions:
- What problem could our product or service help the person solve?
- Why would they need it?
- What’s the likely outcome or result?
- What are the alternatives?
That’s it! No need for complicated demos or knowing every detail about your product or service. Take away the ME vs YOU approach (most people are averse to that anyway). Instead, as outlined in Same Side Selling, it’s all about having a shared vision of what you’re trying to assemble…what’s important to them, not here’s what I’m trying to sell. When you do this, you’re not really selling – you’re working together to solve a problem. Non-salespeople can get behind this philosophy.
Just think…If your entire organization had this skill, regardless of title, what would happen to your growth rate? As Ian, put it…about 9% of the workforce today has a direct role in sales, which means 91% do not. If you can help that 91% become more effective, you’ve increased your production rate. Amazing to think about!
For this approach to be effective, it must be engrained in your culture – not just buzz words or a one-time communication. You feel it in your new hire onboarding, your communication strategies, and how you train your people. They know the kind of problems your business can solve, and they know what the symptoms look like when speaking with someone.
Today, culture is a competitive advantage
. So, if you’re looking for a modern approach to growing your business, look no further than your culture.
Marissa & Jen