Selling is a journey, and the destination of all sales activities should be to reach Preferred Position with our customers. Position is our current status and degree of influence in the customer relationship, and Preferred Position is the strongest possible position as a sales professional. What does that look like? When we are in Preferred Position with our customers, we have:
- A relationship of high trust
- Easy access to key decision makers
- Strong advocates within the customer organization
- Respect and admiration within the customer organization
- Insights and value for the customer that differentiate us from our competitors
- A strategic advantage over our competitors for the customer’s favor
With Preferred Position, we enjoy an insider’s view; customer sponsors are pulling for us to succeed because they view us as being on the same side – part of their team. Because of this, our influence within the account is extensive and our ability to create positive action is considerable.
Attaining Preferred Position takes diligence and superior selling skills, including:
- Extensive and ongoing research
- Thorough pre-call planning and preparation
- Well-honed exploratory and presentation skills
- Creative and professional implementation
- Extensive networking throughout multiple layers in the customer organization
We should never take Preferred Position for granted. If we’re not vigilant, we can lose this exalted status in the blink of an eye if we fail to listen to the customer, neglect to create new and unique solutions, disregard the customer’s guidance or neglect to address the customer’s needs. If this happens, we are putting our hard-earned position at risk.
When you achieve Preferred Position, you know that you have become an integral part of the value solution for the customer, in addition to the products and services you offer. That gives you and your company a distinct, long-term advantage with the customer and the opportunity to make a positive difference for the customer!