If buyers are hungry for insights and we as salespeople fail to give these to them than they switch off, get bored and will finish-up the sales meeting in their most polite way of saying: “Thanks, but no thank you!”
We are so hyped up and want to talk about how we think we can make a difference with our products and service but from the customers ‘point of view, they have heard these stories before and actually the more we talk about ourselves and how good we are versus the competition, the more we identify ourselves as a commodity.
In their view, they expect something different from salespeople. Their business world is more complex than ever, changes are happening externally and internally and they are trying to keep up. In the meantime, they focus on what is important to every business. They need to keep growing, they need to keep achieving their profit targets.
To adapt to changes around them, they follow their competitors, they innovate, and they constantly ask themselves: “to grow our business what needs to change, how can we be more efficient, where can we save cost, how can we create more top-line growth?” These are strategic questions and they need help.
In the new way of selling you realize that the buyer is not after insights about your company, products or services. Eventually, you will get to these, but not yet. First, you need to have a conversation about why you think they should change. For that you need to share something that they don’t know, would like to know, is relevant to their challenges and would help them in making sense of what is wise to do.
They need your help and they are hungry for insights. In the new way of selling, be comfortable with them being uncomfortable.
So, what is a practical approach?
First of all, tell your customers what you stand for; you are helping the customer to grow their business. That’s what Trusted Advisors do. Even if they don’t buy from you right now, at least you have shared with them what you think and how you can help them to achieve what they’re trying to achieve.
- Understand the customer’s situation really well. Do your research and talk to multiple stakeholders. Don’t think you can “close deals” within one call or visit.
- Verify if your thinking is aligned with their challenges and concerns. Look for things that are going to cause them to have to change something in the next 18 to 24 months. What trends do you recognize that have potentially an impact on your customer? Share what you see is trending. In a lot of cases, Google is a great help.
- Share insights. Share stories of what you have seen working very well with other customers who had similar challenges and have changed for a better outcome.
You want your prospective customer to start thinking about the risk of not changing. What if they stay the same? Are they missing out on potential growth? What if they can create a strategic advantage by changing to a different supplier?
Once there is consensus with the involved stakeholders that their current set-up is not good enough any longer, show them that you are the only partner who can deliver the new-wished-for strategic advantage.
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