RELEVANT - Is fanatically Customer focused in every step of the sales journey

RELEVANT - Is fanatically Customer focused in every step of the sales journey

Sitting socially distanced in a spacious conference room that could easily seat 30, the CFO and HR Head of ESP Ltd, exchanged glances

On the massive wall mounted screen, Shyam was wrapping up his pitch for managing ESP;s investments. Shyam was clearly excited about the opportunity. And his audience of two, could feel it.

Bravo Financials, Shyam’s company, had picked him specially for this 20 minute pitch. To Bravo, this could mean an entry into ESP, the consumer products giant with world wide interests. Shyam, with his encyclopedic product knowledge was almost an automatic choice for this call.

Passing on the lead, Bravo’s inside sales team advised him: “ESP seems interested in our products. So go for it”.

Shyam’s presentation was a carefully crafted capsule of Bravo’s entire product range, offering a peek into all the important features and benefits.

It went beyond product details and painted a vision of how Bravo could help ESP secure the financial future of its global workforce.

The CFO thanked Shyam. “We will let you know during the course of this week” he promised.

But Shyam thought that he saw a faraway look in the CFO’s eyes. Something wasn’t quite right, perhaps

The Conference Hall at ESP Ltd fell dark after the giant screen went blank. There was a long minute of silence. Fumbling with the remote to turn the lights on, ESP’s CFO turned to his HR Head with a sigh. He spoke through his face mask “That was a breathtaking pitch. One of the best I have sat through. But what a wasted, irrelevant effort. Our urgent need now is just a plan that can cover our first set of retiring employees. Other solutions can wait. I didn’t have a chance to tell him, once he got going”

Shyam could have closed the deal in 10 minutes if he had started by checking on what the Customer wanted in the first place. The overpowering desire to share what the salesperson feels is surely going to benefit the Customer can be irresistible, specially for salespeople like Shyam, who are proud and knowledgeable about their products. But that compulsive drive to ‘tell’ will never add up to ‘selling’ from the Customer’s perspective. All that’s needed to steer clear of this pitfall is to follow a structured sales process, that ensures the sales effort is relevant, every step of the way.

Relevance is the essence of any sales effort, and can be ensured in just two significant steps - (1) Identify/uncover a need (2) Fulfill that need with your product or service for mutual benefit. To sell like a pro takes understanding of a stated Customer need. If not stated, the unarticulated need has to be uncovered. Often times, sales reps end up making a sales pitch to address an assumed need. It takes a master salesperson to spot a latent requirement, bring it up and gently steer the Customer towards the solution. Such fanatic focus on ‘relevance’ elevates selling to “problem solving” or “opportunity creation” which then becomes a compelling differentiator.

Encapsulating this approach is DAPA™, a simple yet powerful personal selling method developed by Mercuri International, that decodes the science behind successful selling. Mercuri’s DAPA™ lays out a 4 step process to sure-footed selling:

  1. Definition of the Customer’s requirements for your product or service
  2. Acceptance by the Customer of these requirements
  3. Proof that your product or service can fulfill the Customer’s requirements
  4. Acceptance of the proof by the Customer

As you can intuitively figure out, the first two steps are about firming up the need. The third and fourth steps match the need to the solution, offering the best-fit product or service that can fulfill the identified need. Now comes the interesting part. Any guess, which of these 4 steps most salespeople use for their initial pitch? The 3rd step of course! The fatal flaw in selling, recognized world over by sales veterans, is to start off with what you can offer. Selling, clearly, is not just telling. It is much more. Your pitch should be able to get the Customer to open out first, help her define the situation (DA) and only then tell her what you could do by way of real benefits

Sales People who practice the DAPA approach prevent losing their way to irrelevance. Little surprise that ‘Customer driven goal oriented selling’ is another name for DAPA. The secret of DAPA as veterans acknowledge, is in its ability to bring a win-win flavor to the sales conversation. With DAPA you can set up Customer centric goals, in all sales situations and stay Customer focused all through the sales journey. And that can do magic for your closures!

Action Question:  Reflect on your last two sales pitches. Can you articulate the D, A, P & A for each? How can you get better at using DAPA in your upcoming calls to be even more relevant right through to closure?

Related Reading:  Mercuri Insight document DAPA – The Power of Customer Driven Goal Oriented Selling

About the series: This is the 49th in a series of 100 Posts that purport to build your #Sales Resilience.. as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


48.PREPARES: Thinks through the entire sales call before zooming into it

"Tell me who are your contacts in this account. And, I will tell you how likely you are to win this deal" Often heard in Sales Reviews, we know this is easier said in retrospect. How does a rookie Sales Person get this right with an unknown account? Read on..

September 04, 2020Read more


50.GIVES - Immersed in serving value to Customers, without expectations

It’s a most intriguing piece of sales advice - "What have you left with your Customer that she can use even if she doesn’t buy from you?" Is that even possible?

September 04, 2020Read more