How to Shift from Sales to a True Business Dialect

Tech sales reps, please stop with all the nonsense you're talking about. It just doesn't work.

It's not 1924, when you could get absorbed in discussing product features and technical specifications.

All you do is lose sight of the larger picture.

Despite their knowledge and enthusiasm, salespeople are unable to close deals as expected.

And the reason behind this problem is the lack of genuine business conversations.

So, how can sales professionals switch from sales to a business dialect?

To help us with this incredible topic today, we have Eric Shaver, Managing Partner at Kensei Partners.

Step-by-Step Guide to Shift from Sales to a True Business Dialect

1. The Universal Sales Dilemma

Eric has observed a common challenge across his vast experience training sales professionals in 33 countries: the general "sales dialect" and the difficulty in navigating customer requests with strategic finesse.

This phenomenon isn't tied to geography; it's a universal issue where salespeople, regardless of their training background, often start their careers imitating a less effective sales approach.

Think "Tommy Boy" or "fake it till you make it" mantra.

"Everyone starts their career as Tommy Boy. I don't care what you say. We all start as Tommy Boy and Enterprise B2B sales. We don't know what we're doing. We're faking it, and then we get the training we get."

2. Shift Your Focus

The first step in transitioning from tech sales to business conversations is to shift your focus from product-centric discussions to strategic business dialogues.

It's about understanding and speaking the value your product or service brings to the market.

This means you must go beyond features and functions to how your offering addresses critical business needs, aligns with strategic goals, and contributes to positive cash flows or operational efficiencies over time.

3. Embrace the “Maybe” Approach

Remember Jim Carrey in "Yes Man"?

How did things end up for him (before the kissing part)?

He was arrested by the FBI for terrorism suspicion.

There's just something fishy about people who always say yes to everything, and salespeople are no exception.

So, instead of immediately saying "yes" to customer demands, adopt a "maybe" stance that allows for setting clear requirements before committing resources.

It will not only preserve your dignity and resources but also challenge the conventional sales mindset, enabling a dialogue that aligns more closely with business needs rather than sales pressures.

4. Engage in Meaningful Dialogues

Engaging in business requires a mutual exchange of information to determine if a collaboration is worthwhile.

Focus on asking the right questions to the right people.

Rather than sticking to arbitrary sales targets like a 3X or 4X pipeline, focus on real business needs and outcomes.

As Eric points out, “If I'm truly curious about them and their business, it turns into a great conversation. But you also gotta be asking the right questions of the right people”.

5. Redefine Sales Success

So many businesses struggle with ineffective sales strategies.

And it’s all because leadership pushes unrealistic goals without considering the value or feasibility of opportunities.

To drive a cultural shift and support sales teams in adopting more thoughtful approaches, Eric highlights the importance of leadership, often formed of individuals promoted for their efficiency in traditional sales tactics.

However, in 2024, selling requires engaging with executives on a deeper business level.

That's why Eric advocates for a transformation in sales messaging that aligns with business value.

By eliminating a portion of the pipeline that produces minimal revenue impact, organizations can focus on more promising opportunities.

Transitioning from tech sales to business conversations isn't just about changing how we talk; it's about changing the way we think.

Eric's insights offer a roadmap for sales professionals looking to make this shift and underline the importance of focusing on value-driven discussions, strategic engagement, and meaningful business outcomes.

In his words, challenging the sales orthodoxy and adopting a more business-oriented approach can transform sales from simple transactions to strategic partnerships.

Now that you know how to shift from sales to a true business dialect in tech, check out the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.

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