Her answer is enlightening. Read or view the interview below.
Bernadette is a sales leadership expert, she helps bridge corporate goals with revenue potential. She’s a leading author and an international keynote speaker.
John: Hello and welcome back! Today I’m delighted to have with me – Bernadette McClelland. Bernadette is a sales leadership expert, she helps bridge corporate goals with revenue potential. She’s a leading author and an international keynote speaker. Welcome, Bernadette!
Bernadette: Thank you very much, John!
John: Bernadette, I’ve been reading a lot of your writings and I love what you write!
Bernadette: Thank you!
John: One of the things I was really interested in is that you indicated that salespeople now need to be much more entrepreneurial. Can we talk about that? What do you mean by that?
Bernadette: I agree, they do. Somebody said to me once “You have got to be a better marketer of what you do – than doer of what you do.” Now, that doesn’t mean to say that you don’t have to be good, but it certainly means that you have to put yourself out there. Salespeople today, in my opinion, need to up the ante as far as their approach to their buyers.
John: So, you’re talking about marketing themselves.
Bernadette: Absolutely. So, salespeople today are the differentiating factor. I mean, all our products are pretty much the same, and so what we need to do is – we can’t afford for us to continue to go to the buyer with product – we have to create an environment where the buyer is attracted to us.
John: Because we’re a domain expert?
Bernadette: Absolutely. We have to be known for what we know, and so salespeople today – it doesn’t matter what industry they’re in – they need to be viewed as an expert in that industry. So, what I think salespeople need to do in order to go to that next step is they need to do a couple of things differently: they need to learn how to speak, they need to learn how to present, they need to learn how to write – so that they can capture the opportunity in the platforms that social allows them to do.
John: They wouldn’t be writing about product.
Bernadette: No. What they really need to be writing about – it comes down to what is their intention as salespeople. So all of us, our intention should be to help our client grow their business.
John: So it needs to be something of value to the client around their business.
Bernadette: Totally, absolutely. Definitely.
John: To me that sounds like personal branding – what I call personal branding.
Bernadette: It’s all part of it. Let’s face it, we live in a voyeuristic society at the moment and ‘google’ is a verb, so it doesn’t take much for all of us to actually kind of ‘suss’ people out online these days. So, what would your profile say about you if a potential buyer was to look you up? So yes, personal branding is all wrapped up in that whole entrepreneurial approach to the market.
John: So, if I was to sum up what we’re talking about: a salesperson needs to be entrepreneurial, and by that I guess we’re saying they need to be innovative in the way they work with customers, in the way they create value for customers in the context of the customer’s thinking. And on top of that, they need to be able to portray themselves out to the marketplace as somebody that does bring value, somebody that is a domain expert and is worth talking with – if I’m a customer.
Bernadette: Correct. Absolutely, absolutely. It’s putting yourselves out there, it’s different today than what it’s been like in the past.
John: Sounds like great advice. I’m looking to hear more about that when we next get together.
Bernadette: Great, looking forward to it too!
John: Thanks, Bernadette!
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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.