If you are a musician then you know exactly what I am talking about. Recently I took up playing drums. This was a long-postponed dream of mine, little did I know how difficult it actually is. Gosh, I think if you give anyone a pair of sticks in their hands, they can beat a bit of a rhythm. But to ‘play that funky music right (boy)’ you need to train your brain to, at times, go against your habits. To play well, you need to be good at counting and you need to be patient because new skills cannot be learned overnight.
In the new way of selling, you need to apply similar trades:
- Go against your habits
- Be good at counting
- Be patient
The moment you sense an opportunity with your prospect, the biggest mistake you currently make is to pitch your products and solution too soon. You only realize this when your contact hesitates, raises concerns, objects, or in the worse case is bored and not ready to listen to your solution. From the buyer’s perspective, you have no opportunity at all. You first need to create the desire to explore change.
So, go against your habits. Do not pitch anything. Hold your horses and do not explain how good your company, your product, and/or your solution is. Instead, let the customer discover something about themselves. In order to achieve what they are trying to achieve as a business, do they really have the right set-up, suppliers, and supply chain? If you, as a Trusted Advisor, would be on their management team, what risks would you see? What is the cost of inaction? What do you need to do to avoid these risks you see? Why wouldn’t your prospect stick with their current set-up? These in themselves are insights, something your prospect has not considered before.
Until now you have been successful in closing deals because of your great Sales Acumen. You master the sales process and through consultative questions, you discover pain-points and dissatisfaction. You are an expert in overcoming objections and with your closing techniques, you nudge prospects to make a decision now rather than later. But what if, all that doesn’t work any longer? What if your prospect doesn’t want to go through your sales process?
Selling with the buyer’s perspective requires you to think like a customer and the awareness that your biggest competitor is not another supplier, but someone or something within the customer base. Although one of your stakeholders is ready to explore change, others are not. For argument’s sake, one of them may be college best friends with your competitor sales rep, and the strongest reason not willing to explore change with you. Long term relationships and emotional attachments are the hardest to break. But if you are good at counting and knowing numbers, your business case for change may do exactly that. In the end, customers are above all business people. When the numbers make sense to make a change, friendships or other thought-so priorities seem less important. Growth, competitiveness, and profit counts in business. In the new way of selling, Business Acumen is a new skill you’ve got to have.
And lastly, you require patience like never before. Because of more stakeholders in the buying room, no longer can you walk away after one meeting thinking you have an opportunity. There are always other stakeholders in the organization that think differently, have totally different views of what the priorities are, and are pursuing different agendas. You need to meet them all. Understand where they are in their buying process and bring insights to their table that deflates their perception of their own status quo. Patience is required.
Who knew that starting drumming would re-enforce what I know is so important in the new way of selling? Train your brain to go against your habits, be good at counting, and have patience. I am not asking everyone to pick up on drumming but for your own success train your brain to sell with the buyer’s perspective
I am always looking forward to feedback. Feel free to share with your network