In an attempt to motivate prospects to listen to what they have to offer, for decades salespeople focused on discovering pain-points or dissatisfactions. When the prospect would respond that everything is fine and that they are happy with their current supplier, the salesperson would, like a magician, wave a magic wand, asking “If you would have a magic wand what would you change in… “(your process, your set-up, your supply chain, etc.). This tactic worked often very well, but nowadays this method falls on deaf ears. The buyer’s expectations of what salespeople should bring to meetings have changed. The magic wand has run out of magic.
True, dissatisfaction still exists, but in the new way of selling salespeople create dissatisfaction instead of provoking it. They bring insightful information to the meetings and bring to light something the prospect didn’t know or ignored and overlooked.
Why is insights-sharing working well and the magic wand not so much? The answer is simple: buying has become more complex. You can raise your magic wand question, but customers would not know what to answer. There is too much going on in their business world. New competitors popping up out of nowhere, governments keep changing their regulations, and innovations of yesterday are old tomorrow. Often they feel overwhelmed, unclear, and uncertain. Customers need more help in making good decisions for their business. They need to advance strategically and they need your help.
Related to these external changes, a variation of the magic wand was used by asking the prospect, “What is keeping you up all night”? Also this technique runs now into a dead end. Why? Not because your customer is not awake all night thinking about what to do, but he or she expects you to tell them what might or should keep them up all night. Buyers have raised the bar and you can clearly read on their forehead: Tell me something I do not know, is relevant to my business challenges and is contributing to shaping my view of what to do next”.
Through sharing insights and a discovery phase where you let your customer discover something about themselves, you create uneasiness for them to stick with the status quo. Then they look at you for advice. In the new way of selling there is no magic wand. Instead, you are the magic wand, creating a desire to explore change and offer advice, like never before.
Please share with your network if you think this post was insightful, and helping you with the new way of selling. Thank you.