Customers are becoming increasingly selective over who they choose to do business with, armed with a wealth of information in the developing digital age. This means businesses need to adopt a new approach, that accounts for the informed customer, and rather than focusing on hard-selling a set service, instead offers a tailored, attentive service where value is emphasised. How does this translate from concept to practice? Research over the last thirty years has made it apparent that the traditional carrot-andstick approach to incentivising sales performance in the salesperson is not reaping sufficient pay-offs. There is a disconnect between what many customers want from the experience – a feeling of value, of being heard, and for a partner in tackling a problem or meeting an opportunity ahead. The Qdos offering in this respect, is to make the best use of these decades of research to inform a quantitative rating that draws not only from score-defined aspects of the service experience but opens up a genuine dialogue for the sales person to make a difference. It’s not simply about hitting targets, although that is naturally important, that is achieved by building rapport with clients through an empathy and sales-oriented approach. This draws from work in crisis negotiation from the FBI (see the Behavioural Staircase model below), from business school and case reports spanning the last few decades, and from the direct experiences of many salespeople and sales managers.
The Qdos approach doesn’t assume salespeople do not care about customers, or that managers are solely interested in targets, but it does give a framework for both parties to deliver a sustainable, focused offering to the customer. Sales people have access to their own individual-level Qdos score, and the component scores which comprise this as rated by their clients, and can review this against the performance of their peers, and in meetings with management. Unlike other approaches, the scores used here are a stepping stone to collaboration; dialogues are opened with colleagues and managers to learn, not scold, from experiences. Coaching becomes a crucial aspect of the new business culture, incorporating meaningful values without distorting what makes the business what is strives to be, with a time investment to the process being key, as above in the Behavioural Staircase. Each step takes time to develop, in order to generate influence with the client, retaining rapport, and being attentive to their needs.
Clarity on the shared wavelength, gives meaning; sales people want to be successful in sales, managers want successful sales people, and customers want solutions which enable them to get ahead in industry. Being clear as to the roadblocks in the process, the moveable targets and innovations which can help the customer succeed, provide a better dialogue. Best practice is shared within and outside of the Qdos system for businesses utilising our package, and licenses can be upgraded as the business scales.
It is through this human-level connection and genuine willingness to be self-critical and engage in personal development that the sales person becomes increasingly adaptable at giving a bespoke offering to the customer. This training, supplemented by in-app modular packages from Qdos, becomes a defining factor of the customer experience; salespeople become agents for change, they become knowledge-brokers, adaptive solutionfocused and empathetic, and resilient.
The Qdos conceptual model is based on the belief that review of feedback data spurs feed-forward action; sales people take feedback on board, and follow-up with customers, colleagues and management to constantly improve their offering. Loyalty is built on trust and respect, both of which need to be earned. As some of the recent literature highlights, it is a privilege to be able to sell to customers, and sales people would do well to treat it as such.
Reflection is central to the review process for all parties, and the Qdos system offers a concise format for processing this data, keeping organised reflections and managing time, flagging up customers that haven’t been checked on for a given window of time.
The customer experiences changes from a “sell, sell, sell” format, which has received consistent criticism over many years, to a meeting style which favours one of five distinct formats; introductory meetings to start the relationship, discovery meetings which begin to appraise the customers’ needs, presentations which focuses on solution-building, negotiations of appropriate solutions, and relationship management meetings to consistently assess how the sales person can better the experience for the customer. A focus on growth-mindsets for the sales person in meeting their clients needs, give them a more holistic perspective of where they can innovative and deliver.
At Qdos, we connect sales people and managers with the data that links their sales activity with the human-level customer experience, showing them where they can strive to make a greater difference in each interaction. This customer-oriented approach has its own benefits for word-of-mouth advertising, longer-term customer loyalty, and extended sales consultancy to partner firms, as we are after all dealing in a B2B fashion.
At Qdos, we provide context for growth, and we value performance. We respect the synergies between factors which impact our thinking, such as motivational health, competition, collaboration, attitude and mindset, and that which impacts our behaviour. We want to look at the bigger picture of how this knits together, and how with that in mind, we can try and systematically train sales people to improve relationships with clients, and leave them satisfied with their services. Let’s say goodbye to “here is the product, what is the question”, and hello to “how can we build the service you need to achieve your goals?”. Performance matters, and so do the people who make it happen.