change your teams’ mindset, grow your revenue

Tips from Isobel Rimmer on how to grow your revenue through changing your teams mindset.

Pause for a moment and think of all the people in your organisation who, in some shape or form, directly or indirectly, are connected to your customers and prospects. From customer service and support to software specialists, trainers, technical architects, post sales, technical project leads, systems engineers and pre-sales.

These SME’s (subject matter experts) all deliver value. They’re working with customers, responding to queries, resolving technical issues. What they share – whatever their job title – is they’re in contact with customers, often face to face even if that’s virtual for now.  They’re solving problems and are trusted for their technical expertise, knowledge and information. They are your ‘secret army’.

Imagine the potential if each and every one identified a new opportunity every quarter or one new project a month.

They can – if you show them how. And, they will want to do it and even enjoy doing it, once you change their mindset about what ‘selling’ really is.

It starts with the mindset but our secret army needs a toolset, too. They need to know what to do and how to do it, and time to try things out, practise their skills and be encouraged with support and feedback.

When your secret armies see customers through a different lens, we open their minds to the opportunities that are out there. We don’t expect them to bring in revenue on their own, although some can and will. Others will be happy spotting opportunities and working with colleagues to land them. One very successful Tech Lead who I recently trained ‘confessed’ (his word, not mine) that he now loved ‘helping his customers buy’ – but Isobel, please don’t call it selling. And that was after he brought in a Euro500k deal with a major bank!

He’s not alone.

If we reframe what ‘selling’ really is: helping customers to want to buy from us and recommend us to others too, the mindset changes. Explain that it’s a journey of discovery and understanding, that revenue may be the outcome but the goal is to understand our customers better, and you meet little resistance.

And we need to encourage more curiosity, to be brave and to listen, not just for what is said but for what is left unsaid. People say things for a reason, we need to know why. Changing their mindset from ‘listening to unload’ – their own views and opinions – to ‘listening to understand’, may be the quickest way of all to grow revenue.

If we help them to discover what lies behind what’s said, they see for themselves that they can serve them better and that it’s not ‘flogging’ something a customer doesn’t need or want.

The structure below is one used by a global software vendor to help their technical architects and engineers understand customers, have stronger relationships and grow revenue. They’re not ‘sellers’ nor do they want to be, but they’re bringing in new revenue streams – and happier.

Client: ‘We’re behind on our timescales. It’s a struggle right now.’

Engineer: ‘Sounds like you’re under a lot of pressure. What’s causing that?’

Client: ‘Two people are self-isolating and one of them is the project lead and he’s our expert.’

Engineer: ‘Could anyone else take up some of his work?’

Client: ‘There’s a tech guy in Dublin, but we’d have to persuade his manager to release him.’

Engineer: ‘Sounds like that could be a good move. Do you think you can?’

Client: ‘Well he’s up for it as I’ve spoken to him. But he’s working on some authorisation work which is also high priority.’

Our engineer knows his organisation could help here – he personally has the technical skills and knows the project and it would be good, billable work right now. It’s tempting to put himself forward “we can do that for you” But he’s been trained to hold back and discover more first:

Engineer: ‘What will be the impact if you don’t get this guy onto it?’

Client: ‘Well, we won’t be able to release the latest version of the app – and the new VP of marketing is all over it.  It’s a really high priority.’

Engineer: ‘That’s a worry. When’s the app supposed to launch?’

Client: ‘The VP has gone public saying by Q3 and we know that it’s really key to deliver on that quarter’s revenue targets.’

What has the curious engineer found out? This is a bigger issue than first presented and critical. It will be on the radar of senior management and under scrutiny. Had he jumped in with, ‘We can do that for you,’ he’d never have made the discovery. And still he can be more curious:

Engineer: ‘So the app is key to revenue targets this year. This is really putting the pressure on you. We could help with some of our engineers on the authorisation work in Dublin and potentially support you here too. How can you persuade the Dublin manager to release the guy?’

Client: ‘If we get the VP of Marketing involved yes. I’d like to share some ideas – if we look at the cost of bringing in a few contractors versus the potential loss of revenue, it’s a no brainer. They can see why we need to do something sooner than later. Could you send me the CVs of your best engineers? I think using them could really work.’

Look how far we’ve come. Through creating a more curious mindset, understanding the power of listening and asking great questions our engineer has identified an opportunity.

No tricks, no underhand methods – just a change in mindset to genuinely help a customer solve a problem.

Isobel Rimmer is founder of training and development consultancy Masterclass Training and author of new book Natural Business Development: Unleash your people’s potential to spot opportunities, develop new business and grow revenue

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