"In this book you’ll get an inside look at how your prospects actually make decisions – or don’t – in today’s crazy-busy organizations."
SNAP Selling is a fantastic wake-up call for sellers to step up their game to win more business in an increasingly complex world. The author, Jill Konrath, cut her teeth at Xerox and continued her amazing sales career as a sales strategist for some of the biggest companies in the world. Konrath’s book will make anybody who sells anything a little bit uncomfortable. Her “SNAP” Selling approach makes it very simple to understand how to speak to today’s frazzled customers. However, it requires sellers to step up their game and be even more relevant to their customers and prospects than ever before. Konrath’s approach to understanding your customers may be the only way that sellers will be able to keep up with the ever busy, ever confused, and ever risk-averse customers that we speak to today.
"Your ability to stay in the Go Zone - where you’re still a player and have a chance of getting the customer’s business – is highly contingent on your ability to successfully leverage the SNAP factors."
SNAP is the framework that Konrath uses to describe how sellers can stay in front of today’s frazzled customers. It stands for:
Let’s start with Simple. People simply can’t stand to add more complexity to their lives. Management is fighting fires and managers are simply trying to stay afloat with all the projects they’ve been assigned. Even a small perceived complexity can scare away a customer. Keeping the messages simple without the fluffy marketing lingo will help keep things crystal clear in the eyes of the customers. Today’s buyers have no time for sellers that only have a “skin deep” understanding of the issues that their customers face. Buyers are expecting sellers to know their issues better than ever before and only those who can bring iNvaluable insights to the conversation. A seller that also waits for direction from the buyer will be written off as someone who does not have the experience or expertise. Aligned is the most important of the SNAP factors. In the customer’s mind, you’re either aligned or not. If your vision is not aligned to the company or individual’s mission, you’re not going to get in the door. Buyers will also be turned off immediately if the seller goes straight into explaining their offerings or shares customer case stories/studies that do not directly relate to them. Finally, let’s talk about Priority. Frazzled customers have no bandwidth for new projects that are not urgent. If it’s not a priority, then it’ll be tabled.
I admit it’s a bit daunting to have to meet these factors consistently with every customer that sellers speak to. Besides, it takes time and research to understand what a customer’s priorities look like and what they see as relevant or irrelevant. (The challenge is exasperated when it is a prospect.) But the framework is a valuable start in understanding how to sell to your customers and stay relevant in their world.
"When you do figure out how to deal with frazzled customers, everything changes. They want to work with you. Sales cycles speed up. You have less competition…all at the same time."
So let’s go deeper into the framework.
Keeping your message simple means that you’re eliminating as many (if not all) the complexity in the language and process that you have when dealing with your customers. Find confusing language and throw it out along with complex steps in your sales process which might slow it down. For example, if your sales process requires a demonstration or sample, keep it as simple as possible. Don’t overwhelm the customer with all the features and functionalities. Stick to the ones that will help resolve the business challenges that you can help solve.
Being iNvaluable is about continuously finding ways to be valuable to your customers. Learn about the top challenges that executives you speak with are dealing with or find stories of similar companies that you’ve been able to help. With more knowledge and expertise, you can position yourself to become an expert.
To ensure alignment, make sure you are asking these questions:
- How does my offering impact my customer’s primary issues and objectives?
- What criteria are important to them as they make their decision?
- What do they value in their working relationships?
Staying aligned during a sales cycle means making sure you’re asking the right questions throughout to test the interest and commitment they have with your proposal. Finally, when it comes to alignment, it is important to know what other projects the customer is working on so you can uncover new opportunities and make sure you’re raising your priority ahead of others.
The 3 Decisions
"Your prospects make three very different and distinct decisions in relationship to working with you."
The sales process involves three major decisions. The first decision is over whether you will be allowed access. This requires the seller to convert the oblivious customer to a curious customer. Your simple focus is to have them agree to a conversation. Being able to get to a conversation requires understanding the customer’s challenges, having a solid value proposition, and piquing their interest just enough. The second decision is about initiative change. You’re trying to help the customer go from complacent to committed. When customers are complacent they’re willing to listen to ideas but they’re not committed to making a change… yet. At this decision stage, the seller’s role is not to understand the needs of the customer better or to impress them with the products and services. The goal is to get them to understand what is possible if they work with you and your company. Don’t get this wrong with “visioning” – it’s much more real than that. You need to show that you understand their business and sharing with them impact that you’ve been able to make with other companies that directly relate with their own priorities. The third decision is about selecting resources. At this stage, you’ve gotten your customer to open up to the possibilities and the status quo is no longer acceptable. Make sure to coach your champion and guide him/her through the process. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re also doing your best to influence the decision-making criteria to help your solution standout. The 3 Decisions are a great way to break down your sales process and making sure you check off your list at each stage will be crucial to your success.
SNAP Selling is another great addition to sales “how to” books out there. The book is very clear with its steps and provides real scripts and talk tracks that you can start implementing immediately. I really liked Konrath’s approach because now more than ever people are crunched for time and the buying process is much more complex. Helping to cut the clutter for customers will make their lives easier and help you sell more.