Lori CornmesserIn his weekly article for The Business Journals, Simon T. Bailey, CEO of the Brilliance Institute and former sales director of the Disney Institute, outlines sales strategies that focus on the culture of sales. Bailey feels that a sales approach focused on simply “convincing people to buy” is a remnant of an outmoded paradigm. His vision for a modern sales approach is what one might call a “sales lifestyle,” which shifts focus from products and services onto the people and organizations that use them.

Connect with buyers by addressing their needs.

According to Bailey, sales is and will continue to be the driving force behind most business. What is changing is what drives buyers to buy, and adapting to that shift will be what makes enterprises profitable. First, Bailey feels that sales professionals must identify the problems that trigger a buyers need, and then orient their products and services to address those problems. In the old model of sales, simply pushing products was the modus operandi. But the modern buyer has choices and the means to explore them, so repositioning products to address client need is essential for connecting with potential buyers.

Identify opportunities and showcase possibilities.

Second, the article emphasizes surfacing potential opportunities. This involves a management approach that focuses less on articulating the benefits of the product to the client, and more on posing probing questions to determine the full depths of a buyer’s issues. Bailey says that often times buyers have only a tenuous grasp of the full scope of their needs. Salespeople need to ask in-depth questions and take advantage of the possibilities that may be unearthed by them.

Go above and beyond in customer service.

Third, sales is customer service. In Bailey’s vision, gone are the days when the sale was closed and the client became the problem of the customer service department. The modern client expects the sales representative to be their liaison to the company. A seamless, integrated sales/customer service strategy will increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately revenues.

Live to sell by promoting your team’s personal brands.

Finally, Bailey recommends that business and sales leaders instill in their teams what he calls a “live-to-sell” approach. This involves building personal brands within a larger sales team. Individuals who market themselves in turn market the company and its products and services. If done correctly, this approach can open up previously blocked opportunities for growth.