Monday, 17 July
Today's Topic
Champion Development

Skill

You know how to find something to bond over with anyone. You’re a pro. At the same time, realize that those customers you have a lot in common with are sometimes unable to help you as a champion.

Think about your clients whom you consider as good friends. Certainly, you have a few.

How did you two get to be so close? Is it because your kids attend the same school, or because you both like the same sports team or music?

Have you ever wondered what it would take to develop a champion from a customer with whom you have little in common?

Yes, champion development is more complex when you have little in common with the other individual, especially those who you don’t click with. (Don’t give up trying.) Fortunately, there are steps you can take to establish a strong "champion" rapport with just about anyone.

Dating back to the stone ages, sales managers have been exhorting sellers to "get a champion inside that cave…we need someone to advocate for us when it’s time to sell them more tools." (Work with it.)

Undoubtedly, life is easier when you have champions spread all over your key accounts. And your sales record shows it. The key to developing champions is based on two things:
1. Shared experiences.
2. Making the client shine.

Shared experiences are simply doing things together. (Duh.) If the working relationship is relatively new, you might want to focus on creating events and interactions that bring you together. Your shared experiences don’t all have to come under the category of client entertaining.

As for making them shine? That, too, requires some thought and authenticity. How can you do things for the customer that make their lives easier, but more importantly, make them look good at work?

Dedicate some thinking to both of these, and soon they’ll be calling you back in the same day!

Do

Developing champions doesn’t have to take months, but it can’t be rushed. Your actions must be authentic because you have to earn the right to ask, "What can you do to help me inside your org?"

Get out a list of your running business and your A prospect accounts; sort the list so you can see all the KDM names at each company.

This exercise aims to identify who will be your champion at each company.

Circle or highlight the names of those you think are champions and those you feel you can develop. It’s great if you already have champs inside some of your key accounts, but it’s time to think about who represents the best chance at champion designation too.

Next, create a plan that will make them a champion.

Developing a champion is entirely so you can ask this question, "What can you do to help me with X inside the org?" But as you know, you have to earn that question.

If you buy into the theory that developing champions is based on shared experiences and helping your customers look good, then it’s time to build a plan around that thinking. If you have succeeded in developing champs in other ways, great! …do more of that! Remember, the goal is to have champs inside all your key accounts, and whatever works for you works for you.

First, shared experiences. What business events or conferences can you invite your budding champs to? It’s easier to get exposure to these prospective champions once you’ve cracked the business, but push yourself to think creatively about what kind of ways you can get them out of the office.

As for making them look good, go beyond the standard issues you’re dealing with on the account. Can you help introduce a candidate to them for an open job? Can you send ideas for an event or offsite meeting sites that ease their planning challenges?

Insights into these areas that you can help with come when you ask questions like, "So, what else are you working on these days?" Or, "What’s going on inside the company these days that’s exciting?" You may not get tips that unlock doors for you with questions like that, but you’re sure not to learn anything if you don’t ask.

Tomorrow - June 25

Did your competitor have a good Q2?

Today - June 24

"I thought that buyer LOVED me."

Read More

June 22 - 23

Mindfulness/Self-care

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June 21

On this day, Jaws appeared in theaters

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"Be honest, brutally honest. That is what’s going to maintain relationships." -Lauryn Hill

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