Thinking like a buyer has opened the eyes of many salespersons. Instead of following the traditional sales process steps -where you uncover the buyer’s need- they realized it is much more effective to let the prospect discover something about themselves. In the new way of selling, you let the buying group discover that their current setup may not deliver the results they are looking for.
Although most sales colleagues may have the above objective in mind, many get themselves into a dead-end street because they lead the conversation too much around their solutions. How many times did you hear yourself say, “But…we are different, faster, bigger…” – “With us, you will have peace of mind because…. “- or, “With our solution, you would be able to do this and that… “? Do you think your prospect is really listening to that? How many times have they heard that story? They may eventually listen, but something needs to happen before that to get their attention.
If you lead with solutions, you are leading your prospect the wrong way. They will automatically compare your offerings with their current supplier. Before you know, you are part of the procurement’s spreadsheet. The danger is that although they may see some differences here and there, none of these is convincing the buying team to make a drastic change – other than price. As a result, you still look the same as your competitor. From their perspective, the added value of change is not worthwhile unless savings are made on what they pay for the current service. Thus, you find yourself in a dead-end street. Which way to turn?
One way to turn is to ask your prospect questions about their strategic intent. Questions that they are asking themselves in boardroom meetings:
- What is your next year’s growth look like in comparison to previous years?
- What changes will you make to support new growth?
- What do you need to do differently to attract more customers?
- What market share growth are you aiming for next year?
- What trends in your market are bothering you?
- Who or what is disrupting your market?
- What consumer trends are pushing you to do things differently?
- What loyalty program do you have in place?
- What initiatives do you currently have to improve the customer experience?
Through using you as a sparring partner, they ask themselves: “Do I have the right suppliers lined up to achieve what we want to achieve next year”? They discover that maybe something is missing. You got their interest and that is exactly when you can help! Turn conversations into strategic questions to get you out of the dead-end street.
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