Episode 208: Robert Bosch on Understanding Your Buyer to Improve Quality
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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.
Today I’m excited to have Robert Bosch from ExxE Energy join us. Robert, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Robert Bosch: Thanks for having me. To tell a bit about myself I was born in Central America, raised in West Africa, and now in Western Germany where I live my life with my family and my four kids. I have been in Munich and the sales industry for nearly 20 years, where I have been in different branches of the sales business. I have a load of experience with which I gathered in this time from different sectors.
Today I’m in a new environment for me which is in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energies, virus and bacteria control systems, all these types of things. In our type of organization, we have different companies with different specifications in areas that they’re experts in, like building technologies, heating technologies, solar panel technologies, air purifying systems, and all these types of things. We deliver to our customers all from one hand depending on the needs of the customer.
SS: That’s fantastic. Now Robert on LinkedIn you actually share a quote from Benjamin Franklin that says “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” I think that is so relevant to sales. How can enablement help sales reps deliver high-quality experiences for their customers?
RB: The quote from Benjamin Franklin is quite honest because in 20 years of sales I experienced a lot of types of customers from small, medium to large. If they only focus on saving money and on pricing it may start off as sweet, but they will probably forget this sweetness quickly because the bitterness of the low-price quality will remain. This quote tells you that the lowest price is not always the best thing to choose. Our organization stands for really high quality and high services. Some technology costs loads of cash, so you really need to explain to the customer what they are paying for. If you can convince the customer and really give them an outlook on what the future would look like if they choose this way or that way, every customer will choose the right way and will not choose based on price. They will choose quality and that’s why this quote matches with the ideology of our company and of all our staff who want to deliver top quality.
SS: I love that. Now to talk a little bit more about the quality component, how do you see quality help to really drive customer loyalty?
RB: That’s a good question because that’s implicating also on pricing. For example, most of the renewable tech nowadays comes from China and China offers really cheap prices. If you want to purchase the same type of technology with more care and more quality behind it, maybe buy renewable tech that was produced in Germany, Europe, or maybe the U.S. It will cost more, but the quality will be much higher. I believe there are loads of customers out there who need quality and are willing to pay if they are consulted by a true and honest salesperson.
If you sell to a customer with this type of approach, the customer will see the value, will experience the quality results, and will tell others about it. They will be the one who is the storyteller for you and nowadays it’s all about storytelling. You need to help your customer, and in return, they will help you. You need to show your customer that you take their issues seriously and that you respect them and are thankful for their purchase because they could have chosen another organization. I have encountered this many times through an online selling job that I had some years ago. All of these customers returned and they brought back friends, families, and colleagues, which meant a lot of revenue for us.
SS: I love that perspective. Now in addition to your sales background, you also have experience as a customer service leader. How does this background help inform your approach to sales enablement?
RB: The main thing I learned from my background is to listen to the customer, listen to their pain, listen to their problem and get it done. Help them out and the customer will be your customer for a lifetime. When I train staff I usually take the trainees with me on the journey for one day and say hey just stay with me, listen to how I speak to them, listen to how I listen to them, and notice how deeply I really connect with the customer.
You need to really emotionally open up, enter into your vice versa, and need to understand the human you are selling to. What is his problem? What is his pain? Find a solution. You need to really get the mindset to be a problem solver. This implies the solution must be obtained, you must be the solver, so you need to take the steps to get it done to make the decision to pick the right solution for your customers so that he’s happy and will return forever.
SS: Now, the sales landscape has been changing quite drastically, especially over the last few years. To your point, how do you think that the buyer’s needs are shifting or evolving?
RB: If we take the current global crisis in Ukraine and as well the global coronavirus pandemic and all these things into account, the landscape has changed. Loads of companies are off the planet sadly and you sense that the customer needs are changing because they think about what they really need and not just what is nice to have. We’re no longer in that era where you can sell and buy everything that you want. I think the buyer landscape has changed in very specific areas and in specific industries as well. For example, people are overthinking about food and how their daily nutrition looks. Pricings are going up everywhere so people also think about their health in combination with food.
With technology, people do not have the money to waste on fun technology. I strongly believe that the customer has changed into the way that they say ‘I’m the buyer, this is what I want and need, can you deliver?’ In account to all these global situations, many companies are in a position where they can’t deliver and that’s what I sense is changing. I believe loads of companies need to change their strategies to survive. I feel strongly that many types of industries are changing because of buyer behavior.
SS: Yeah, absolutely. I’d love some best practices for our audience around how to help salespeople adapt to the changing buyer and customer needs that you just outlined.
RB: Look really deeply into your customer. Get informed about your customer, listen to your customer, understand your customer, stay with the customer, and know your customer. I think that’s enough to adapt because I have a feeling in many companies these basics are met because their organization does not allow it or they are experiencing high stress and lots of work.
SS: Absolutely. I think that makes a ton of sense. Now to close, I’d really love to understand what are some of the ways in which enablement has an impact on emotional intelligence or EQ and how can this help you better respond to some of the changes in the market that we’ve been talking about today?
RB: With my staff how I try to show them things hands-on to have them learn how I learned them. I like them to get their hands on selling to understand the technique. At the end of the day, it’s up to them if they use it or not, but I believe if you use your emotional intelligence it has a huge impact. Before I let my staff sell a single product or service, I show them how to do it. You cannot expect anybody to get things done if you as a boss or as a manager cannot do it. I believe that every little move, every little call with a customer, every little visit with a customer if you are not capable of doing it, you can’t expect it from any of your staff.
There is always stress and work, and if you are not there for your staff to show them how things should be done, they will feel the stress more. Just be a human, be like you are at home, be that person that you are with all your talent, all your love, and all your greatness. Stay respectful to your vice versa, you never know who is your vice versa, because there is always a door in life which opens and another one that closes. You need to enable your sales reps to succeed or they will fail, and as a manager, I wouldn’t expect my reps to understand before I teach them.
SS: I love that advice Robert, thank you so much for joining our podcast today. I really appreciate the advice that you shared with our audience.
RB: Many thanks for having me.
SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there is something you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know we’d love to hear from you.