Athletes practice, students practice, musicians practice, business professionals should practice, strategic selling professionals must practice. If you tire of working so hard and not achieving, perhaps now is the time to treat your profession like an athlete does. Start thinking like an athlete so that you have the inside track for your profession. Here is a new seven-step formula to create your success.

Strategic account professionals lack a methodology to remain on track with clients. They, like any professional, need a global positioning system to comprehend the relationship, the pipeline, and the close. Similar to methods an athlete practices to achieve success, here is a method for strategic success.

P – Prepare Competitive Intelligence
Customers no longer desire focus on product; they want to understand results. The only method to remediate this issue is the creation of a client-competitive intelligence program. Use investigative tools that promote the client’s organizational comprehension, industry knowledge, and even competitive trends and pressures. A sincere understanding of client issues assists in promoting a strong relationship.

R – Relationships.
The differentiation lies here. Clients today deserve and desire a trusting guided relationship with their account manager. Clients know more about the products and services you sell than you do. A new process is required: movement from product presentations to value. Clients need to understand the impact your offering has on their need and how quickly it assists.

A – Alliances
Strategic selling professionals require alliances. The network one builds provides useful insight into client account activity. The myriad of networks sellers use to remain visible, insightful, and competitive provides client value.

C – Customer Loyalty
Eighty percent of most organizations believe they deliver exemplary customer service. Ironically, less then twenty percent do. According to research by consultancy Bain and Company, only eight percent of companies really deliver on customer service. In fact, U.S. corporations lose half their customers every five years. Loyal customers become adjuncts to the marketing department. Make certain your organization invests in programs that promote customer loyalty. It makes strategic selling much easier.

T – Tools Promoting Value
There are too many barriers to selling. To lessen impediments, the best professionals learn to strategically view accounts as trusted partners. Avatars return calls quickly, communicate account issues inter-departmentally, and decrease silos and bureaucracy. When clients obtain information wherever, whenever, and however, their representatives value results from service, expediency, and commitment.

I – Invest in Technology
Technology is about connectivity. We all feel overwhelmed by the quantities of e-mail and voice mail. However, technology provides the competitive advantage of maintaining customer connections. Preserve clients with proper communication. The best rule of thumb is once or twice per month, either by telephone or in person.

C – Competitive Differentiation
Differentiation stems from doing things the competition does not. However, you cannot design a strategic program if you do not understand the competitive field. Conduct homework to discern competitive characteristics. Develop useful methods designed around client need. Most important, focus on the result and the client outcome, NOT on your organizational outcome—that is client value.

E – Evaluation
Exemplars for strategic selling constantly evaluate programs. Great strategists employ a team of advisors that understand issues, refrain from tactics, and ask great questions. Seek new answers to old issues and produce better outcomes.

Similar to an athlete seeking to gain a competitive advantage, you too must seek the inside track. Clients today are more discretionary. Ensure your success with proper relationships that enable competitive advantage, insight, and availability and watch your goals become reality.

© 2008. Drew J. Stevens. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Drew Stevens PhD, President of Stevens Consulting Group and renowned author, consultant and sales expert literally wrote the book on improving sales skills. Dr. Drew has helped thousands of frustrated selling professionals and entrepreneurs improve their skills and gain dramatic results.

Experienced with helping entrepreneurs and mid sized business, Dr. Drew works with organizations that desire to dramatically accelerate business growth! Drew has been successful in developing a consistent business methodology that increases customer acquisition by 40% while creating selling standards to reduce labor intensity-resulting in record revenues and higher productivity and profitability.