One of the main challenges in modern selling is that the salesperson moves faster through their sales process than the buyer through their buying process. Once that happens, you notice a conversation disconnect, expressed in a concern, a disagreement, an objection, or a customer responding bluntly: “You’re wasting my time.”
Get a second meeting.
Moving too fast through your sales process will likely result in a price discussion. That’s not what you want. When you are talking to a customer in the “Why Change?” phase, you aim to get a second meeting. Not more, not less.
You need to deliver enough value for the customer to be inspired by your insights and business idea so that other people will need to get involved. How can you do this better? How can you force yourself to slow down?
We Like Rules
Humans like processes and structure when it helps them to advance in something. Look, for example, at simple things like walking on the right side of the staircase (or on the other side in countries like the UK, etc.) so other people can pass on the left. Or just how traffic flows on busy intersections. No one gets hurt because cars, bicycles, and pedestrians follow the rules.
We need something like that in modern selling when Selling with the Buyer’s Perspective. We need new rules. Without these rules, you set yourself up for accidents, read a disengaged customer. There are only three rules that are easy to remember but difficult to keep. The rules are first on what NOT to do, followed by what to do instead.
Three Modern Selling Rules
1. Don’t mention your company
This is probably the biggest challenge because, as a salesperson, what are you trained to do well? That’s right, selling your company. Customers in Why Change? are not interested in your company or the products or services you sell.
I compare a first encounter with a customer to dating (OK, that was a while ago for me 🙂 ). But, imagine you as a youngster in your mid-twenties going to a bar, sitting next to a girl and starting to chat about yourself: how old you are, where you are from, where you went to school, what you do, what you like, etc. What do you think is going through the girl’s head? Boring! The conversation should be all about her.
In modern selling, there is only one way to engage the customer: Sell with the Buyer’s perspective. Be in their world and help them to see a different perspective on their challenges.
2. Don’t talk about your competitors
You are jumping the gun by talking about your competitors. Don’t forget that customers in Why Change? Phase are having a service in place. They are content with what they have. Your contact may have been the person that favoured your competitor a while ago. How content are they? That is for you to figure out later. Leave that topic alone and put it on the back burner.
You should talk about growth opportunities you see for your customer and the risks you see of not changing. Your opinion is based on the research you found and the experience you have with other customers. Focus on these two in Why Change? Phase; what is your business idea and what is it based on?
3. Don’t mention your solutions
Meeting a customer for the first time is not about your solutions. When you say anything related to your solution, the customer knows that you are trying to sell something, and they switch off.
You will get their attention when you share insights about their world, their challenges, what they value or should value, and how you can help.
Remember that your solutions are not insightful until your customer wonders who will be the best fit for new solutions needed to deliver the desired outcome that you proposed and discussed in Why Change?.
Will you accept The Dare?
Your challenge is to follow these three rules in your next month when Prospecting. No mention of your company, your competitors or your solutions. Will you accept The Dare? In return, I offer you more engaging conversations and getting that second meeting.