Salesperson

The four stages toward building relationship with your customers
Chapter 11
p.1
Yes, I think I’m growing in my job. I know more about what I do and it even feels as if I achieve more. Nowadays customers and colleagues even remark on how much I mean and contribute to the company. It really feels as if I am growing into something…but what?
Sounds to me as if you have grown in terms of Holdens Four-Stage Model of sales proficiency from stage 1 into stage 2.
The Holden Four-Stage Model applies to all jobs where your actions are directed at a customer, which can range from a supplier to a person from a different department or business unit, including administrative personnel.
The inherent focus of the model, when used as a tool, is to increase the value to everybody. Coaches would be well advised to apply this to all job roles. Holden distinguishes between four different stages of proficiency and explore the impact of various factors on how people operate in these stages.
Sounds great, but what are these stages and factors?
Lets start by exploring the diagram below.
Take note that Holden distinguishes between Four Stages of proficiency,
ranging from:
“Emerging Sales Person” to “Competitive sales consultant” (Horizontal axis)
Four factors impacting on each stage (Vertical axis)
Stage Emerging Salesperson Salesperson Contributing Salesperson Contributing Sales Consultant
Intent Tone considered To make sale Repeat business To dominate an account
Focus Product Customer Competition Customer’s market
Relationship Casual (Social) Trust (Deliver) Mutualism Symbolic
Value Products option Application solution Business issues Strategic direction
Take a look at the factors on the next page that impact on the different stages of proficiency.

The four stages toward building relationship with your customers

Chapter 11 p.1

w&t_question

I Answer

Yes, I think I’m growing in my job. I know more about what I do and it even feels as if I achieve more. Nowadays customers and colleagues even remark on how much I mean and contribute to the company. It really feels as if I am growing into something…but what?

w&t_exclamation

I Answer

Sounds to me as if you have grown in terms of Holden’s Four-Stage Model of sales proficiency from stage 1 into stage 2.

The Holden Four-Stage Model applies to all jobs where your actions are directed at a customer, which can range from a supplier to a person from a different department or business unit, including administrative personnel.

The inherent focus of the model, when used as a tool, is to increase the value to everybody. Coaches would be well advised to apply this to all job roles. Holden distinguishes between four different stages of proficiency and explore the impact of various factors on how people operate in these stages.

w&t_question

I Ask

Sounds great, but what are these stages and factors?

Lets start by exploring the diagram below.

Take note that Holden distinguishes between Four Stages of proficiency, ranging from:

  • “Emerging Sales Person” to “Competitive sales consultant” (Horizontal axis)
  • Four factors impacting on each stage (Vertical axis)
Stage Emerging Salesperson Salesperson Contributing Salesperson Contributing Sales Consultant
Intent Tone considered To make sale Repeat business To dominate an account
Focus Product Customer Competition Customer’s market
Relationship Casual (Social) Trust (Deliver) Mutualism Symbolic
Value Products option Application solution Business issues Strategic direction
Step back and have a neutral look at your business / career
Chapter 10
p.7
I deal with so many customers and products. How do I know which is the best? How can I find out where I can get the best returns?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all your products and customers are necessarily profitable and “good business”. From time to time it is essential to step back and have a realistic and neutral look at your business.
The diagram below is an example of a “Kanthal Curve”. See it as a tool that can help you to view your business and career from a distance.
It will enable you to answer questions like:
Are my bigger customers really my better customers?
What will be the effect if I spend the same effort onother customers?
Am I really optimizing my resources?
How does cost and activity compare?
But I don’t know how to draw a curve like that! What do I need and where do I start in order to do this?
Before you can plot a Kanthal Curve for your business, you have to analyze your business and obtain realistic and adequate information.
Just follow the steps on the following page…
STEP 1: Write down all the costs
In the case of a salesperson, costs will include the following:
Your full package translated into an hourly rate.
Costs of all who make a contribution to your sales effort: Sales coordinator, team leader, team, admin, etc.
List infrastructure costs that relate to you which are not included in your
hourly tariff.
Any other costs.
STEP 2: List your Top Ten in terms of sales for each of the following:
Products
Suppliers
Customers
STEP 3: Split all the cost elements per customer, allocating as best you can.
Be as honest as you can, otherwise you’ll simply engineer the results you want! Beware of foregone conclusions.
Total
Customer 1 Customer 2 Customer 3
A
Sales
B
Gross Profit
C
Own time x package
D
Other time x cost
E
Infrastructure cost
F
Other costs
G Total cost
(C+D+E+F)
Nett profit
(B-G)
STEP 4: Repeat for products, services, suppliers, etc.
(Use the same method as above)
STEP 5: Plot the curve, starting with the customer
(or product, service or supplier yielding the most net profit and ending with the least profitable.)
Your Kanthal Curve gives you a clear picture of the business performance of your customers, products, services, suppliers, etc.
Now you can analyze good business/bad business…
Analysis of good business / bad business:
Start with your worst performers.
Why keep them?
What areas of improvement can you identify?
Discuss with your customer if he is part of the solution
(eg. pay for service calls, change buying patterns, etc.)
Develop SMART action plans and implement.
Remember that the answers are never in the obvious.

Step back and have a neutral look at your business / career

Chapter 10 p.7

w&t_question

I Ask

I deal with so many customers and products. How do I know which is the best? How can I find out where I can get the best returns?

w&t_exclamation

I Answer

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all your products and customers are necessarily profitable and “good business”. From time to time it is essential to step back and have a realistic and neutral look at your business.

The diagram below is an example of a Kanthal Curve. See it as a tool that can help you to view your business and career from a distance.

It will enable you to answer questions like:

  • Are my bigger customers really my better customers?
  • What will be the effect if I spend the same effort on other customers?
  • Am I really optimizing my resources?
  • How does cost and activity compare?

w&t_ch10_j_the_kanthal_curve

w&t_question

I Ask

But I don’t know how to draw a curve like that! What do I need and where do I start in order to do this?

w&t_binoculars

I Explain

Before you can plot a Kanthal Curve for your business, you have to analyze your business and obtain realistic and adequate information.

Just follow these steps:

STEP 1: Write down all the costs

In the case of a salesperson, costs will include the following:

  1. Your full package translated into an hourly rate.
  2. Costs of all who make a contribution to your sales effort: sales coordinator, team leader, team, admin, etc.
  3. List infrastructure costs that relate to you which are not included in your hourly tariff.
  4. Any other costs.

STEP 2: List your Top Ten in terms of sales for each of the following:

  • Products
  • Suppliers
  • Customers

STEP 3: Split all the cost elements per customer, allocating as best you can.

w&t_elephant

I Advise

Be as honest as you can, otherwise you’ll simply engineer the results you want! Beware of foregone conclusions.

Total
Customer 1 Customer 2 Customer 3
A
Sales
B
Gross Profit
C
Own time x package
D
Other time x cost
E
Infrastructure cost
F
Other costs
G Total cost
(C+D+E+F)
Nett profit
(B-G)

STEP 4: Repeat for products, services, suppliers, etc.

Use the same method as above.

STEP 5: Plot the curve, starting with the customer

or product, service or supplier yielding the most net profit and ending with the least profitable.

w&t_binoculars

I Explain

Your Kanthal Curve gives you a clear picture of the business performance of your customers, products, services, suppliers, etc.

Now you can analyze good business/bad business…

Analysis of good business / bad business:

Start with your worst performers.

  1. Why keep them?
  2. What areas of improvement can you identify?
  3. Discuss with your customer if he is part of the solution (eg. pay for service calls, change buying patterns, etc.)
  4. Develop SMART action plans and implement.
w&t_elephant

I Advise

Remember that the answers are never obvious.