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On social sites, you encounter ideas about how you should sell now. Some of these ideas are helpful, while others are dangerous, largely because they lower your status in your client’s eyes. This is especially true if you sell at the enterprise level. When you read these ideas, you need to assess how executing them will either improve or reduce your status. It’s important that you work on improving your status and protect it from falling.
How Low-Status Strategy Impacts B2B Sales Success
Salespeople who have low status will always have trouble winning clients, losing to sales reps with a higher status. The lower-status salesperson projects that they are not someone who should be providing advice to their client on important or critical decisions, especially critical, difficult decisions. When your client needs to get the decision right on the first attempt, they will disqualify the low-status salesperson from any competition.
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to determine if the salesperson’s status is low. Clients pick up clues about how people carry themselves, how they dress, their experience, and the things they talk about, including what they do to try to gain rapport with their contacts. But what reveals their low status is often a lack of confidence and an inability to lead the client’s decision-making process.
Some low-status salespeople project their low status with an email that includes a bear or a crocodile or some supposedly funny phrase. The prospective responds by avoiding the salesperson from that point forward. This is a surefire way to get contacts to give up on someone before they get additional confirmation that the salesperson is low status.
Key Factors That Diminish Salesperson Status
- Personal rapport building: Most of the time, a salesperson who starts a conversation by trying to build a personal relationship instead of creating value for the client will often come across as a time waster.
- Lack of confidence: When a salesperson lacks confidence, their client senses it and lacks confidence in them.
- Lack of understanding: Knowing nothing about the contact's company or their industry leads contacts to believe the salesperson lacks the knowledge or the experience to trust them to help them decide. This causes an unwillingness to continue the sales conversation.
- Overemphasis on solution: A narrow focus on their solution can alienate mature buyers aware of various effective solutions.
- Deferring to the client: Preferring to follow the client's directives rather than offering guidance diminishes a salesperson's status.
Elevating Your Status in B2B Sales: Strategies for Success
Those who have high status in B2B sales are quite different from their lower-status competitors. They project that they have the ability to dispatch a serious problem and improve the client’s desired outcomes. These sales reps carry themselves in a way that suggests they should be guiding the client’s decisions, as they work to improve the contact's business and their future decisions.
Those with high status look the part and project their confidence in how they speak, what they share, what questions they ask, and how they approach the conversation. They create rapport using value-creation strategies that offer the client something important, and they have the business acumen and experience that their contacts and their teams are missing. The high-status salesperson’s time selling has given them deep experience their clients can rely on.
High-status salespeople project their high status in everything they do, and more so, in what they don’t do, avoiding anything that might cause their client to worry about the advice or the recommendations. The high-status sales professional knows to protect their status, maintain their credibility, and offer their expertise, as they know their clients need to be able to count on them to reach their goals.
Practices That Boost Sales Professional Status
- Smart business rapport: One way you can improve your status in B2B sales is to open the conversation by building business rapport. Businesspeople talk about business. This high-status approach will likely help the salesperson win the deal, and over time, they will have the relationship that low-status salespeople are missing.
- High levels of earned confidence: Successes and even failures contribute to a salesperson's confidence, which in turn, inspire client confidence.
- Deep understanding: Knowledge of the client's company and industry, along with an understanding of their challenges, can elevate a salesperson's status.
- Talking about models: Talking about business models rather than just solutions indicates a high level of knowledge and experience.
- Leading the client: Guiding clients through decisions as if they were your own demonstrates a transfer of knowledge and experience, enhancing your status.
Strategies for Protecting and Enhancing Your Sales Status
If you have high status, you want to protect that status. If you lack the high status you need to succeed, you need to do the work to improve your status over time. Even if it takes time, it is worth working on developing the higher status that will improve your ability to win deals and ensure your clients succeed through your help.