Mark Zokle has greater than 20 years of experience under his belt where closing multi-million dollar deals is concerned. However, unlike some of his contemporaries, Zokle has grown with the times and molded his sales strategies to appeal to a more informed generation of buyers.
Q: What are the key differences between the old and new styles of sales?
Mark Zokle: Two decades ago, it was the seller’s responsibility to simply collect orders, make money, and close the deal. Today, sales professionals’ main priority is helping customers solve problems. Sellers must be customer-oriented and focus on helping the customer utilize his or her product or service in a way that benefits the customer’s bottom line.
Q: Why is it no longer enough to simply have expansive product knowledge?
Mark Zokle: A sales professional is not only expected to know his or her product, but to have an intimate familiarity with how the customer’s organization works. A salesperson is no longer just a body in a suit, there to close the deal; he or she now serves primarily as an expert that just happens to be in possession of the best possible solution for the customer’s concerns.
Q: How much detail should I give my customers regarding profit margin?
Mark Zokle: There was once a time when cost-plus profit margin greatly swayed the customer’s purchase decision. However, during the last decade or so we have seen selling price become more market-driven and based on the value that a product or service offers, as opposed to cold hard accounting numbers.
Q: When do I ask about my customer’s supplier selection process?
Mark Zokle: There is a good chance that your potential customer is waiting for you to outline what your business brings to the table as far as being a strategic partner. Many businesses look to the salesperson to help them align their selection criteria with the supplier organization. The bottom line is this: if you are effective and can provide value to your clients, your company will very likely meet their criteria.