5 Tips for Negotiating with the Professional Buyer

In this blog our procurement specialist – David Atkinson – explores the relationship between the Procurement professional and the Sales Account Manager.The subject of professional procurement is complex and regularly negotiating contracts is a skill that Sales Account Managers need to develop and understand. We often get asked how modern-day category managers think, and what is it about their practices that create such tension in customer-supplier relationships.The role of procurement is to extract the maximum and sustainable…

3 Ways to Build Sales Relationships with Procurement

What does your strategy for building relationships with procurement teams look like? Are your Sales Account Managers clear on how they can work with sophisticated procurement departments in a way which results in a successful relationship for your business?Building business relationships with a team of ‘professional buyers’ can be challenging. Developing relationships over time is an important factor but how does this translate from a broad objective to actionable steps which makes the relationship truly…

Winning at Procurement

Over the years, many of our clients have come to us and asked for our advice about how to complete a complex sale with a prospect who has a well embedded and rigid procurement function.‘No matter how much I use SPIN (Situation, Problem, Impact, Need) and LAMP (Large Account Management Process), I still get referred back to a faceless procurement department. All the time we’ve spent working with the client has been wasted and we’re…

JA Consulting 5 ways to help you create a business strategy that works

5 Ways To Help You Create A Business Strategy That Works

Have you ever noticed how often the word ‘strategy’ is used in business meetings, reports and speeches?  You might be tempted to believe that once an organisation has a strategy all will be well with the world and employees and shareholders alike can rest peacefully in their beds at night. But are we always clear and consistent on what a strategy actually is and what it is there to achieve?Here at JA Consulting, we define…

Why an excellent question framework is critical to sales success

‘You’re like Mickey Mouse, he has two ears, two eyes and one mouth, use them in that proportion’, a memorable piece of advice from my first ever Sales Manager.What this Sales Manager quite rightly highlighted was the importance of putting the potential customer’s challenges and needs at the heart of any sales conversation. Whether you lead on the front line in the sales engagement or are responsible for coaching your team, you’ll understand that it…

Put customers at the centre

There’s no doubt that on initial inspection there is a huge amount of confusion and apprehension as to what ‘digital transformation’ means for businesses and organisations. But as noticeably, if not more so, there is a bewildering number of definitions of what is meant by ‘digital transformation’.The research from a-zI have read, amongst many others, McKinsey’s take on the 7 Traits of Effective Digital Enterprises, a Deloitte article looking at which market sectors will be…

Time to re-think behaviour change in sales teams?

Over the many years I have been in sales, I have been exposed to a wide variety of sales methodologies and tools; SPIN, Blue Sheets, Target Account Selling to name just a few. Regardless of the tool, the training approach was much the same; typically, a three-day training course delivered by an enthusiastic evangelist followed by great personal commitment and enthusiasm to use this new tool with every confidence that I would now be equipped…

Use a Rich Picture to get people onboard

The process of developing a rich picture is a fantastic way of getting people onboard with something, at the same time as generating something that they feel they have contributed to. We’ve been doing more of this over the last few months and frankly the feedback has been outstanding. This approach helps a group of people both in the development of the picture, and in the use of the result, to communicate complex things to…

how good are your questioning skills?

Questioning Skills

QUESTIONING IN SALES One of the things that always surprises me in our work in professional services, is the response from partners and fee earners to this question – ‘have you ever been taught a commercial questioning tool?’  They nearly always answer no, which is surprising when you look at the research about selling and the importance of questioning.  Essentially, questioning in sales should be like a voyage of discovery to unearth the needs of…

are you really listening?

Are you REALLY listening to clients?

Are you REALLY listening to your clients, or just waiting to speak?  After all, you are going to be valued as an adviser for your knowledge and expertise in your specialist area of professional services?  Yes…but no!  Are you being curious about your potential client’s issues or are you just pushing your services at them in the way you have always done?  Curiosity may have killed the cat (!) but it is vital when selling…

relationships, relationships, relationships

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships…

RELATIONSHIPS WIN YOU WORK It’s an old cliché, but relationships win you work when you are trying to sell professional services to targets or existing clients.  Buyers have to trust you and believe in you, so you are likely to have built a relationship over time.  At one end of the relationship scale we have clients who trust us so much they wouldn’t go anywhere else for the services we provide.  At the other end…

Are your relationships strong enough to win you work?

Are your business relationships strong enough to win you work?

BUILDING BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS Business relationships are often described as the life blood of professional services firms.  Relationships exist with current and past clients, as well as those the firm is targeting to ultimately win future work with.  However, how often do partners, fee earners or business development professionals assess the existing and future clients’ relationships to discover where future revenue will come from? IDENTIFIED CONTACT One way of doing this it to consider the business…