The new way of selling requires a different mindset; One of being much more other-focused than me-focused. A mindset that shows a desire to help your customer or prospect achieve their business objectives. But aren’t salespeople already doing this in the traditional way of selling, you may ask? Yes, they do, but they overlook one very important element in the thinking process of a buyer, which is Considering Risk. Research by Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman shows that buyers tend to look foremost at risks associated with making a change. How come many salespeople scare away from the risk conversation or habitually skipping this part? Like anything in life, you first need to understand the Why before the What. So…let’s go:
Prospects have a certain perception of their current supplier. If all things go well, that perception can be high.
Hence, when you ask about any dissatisfaction with their current supplier, or what areas could be improved, you often hear: “we are good”, “we are satisfied with our current supplier”. This is probably the most common reaction salespeople hear and they do not know how to deal with that well.
Instead of selling your prospect why you as a potential supplier would be a much better choice for your prospect, there is significant work to do on decreasing the perceived value of the incumbent competitor. In a world where everything can be compared digitally by a few strokes on a keyboard, many buyers may not see the difference between you and your competitors, as you do. In their world, you are all more or less the same. Why would they consider a change if, in their view, what they would buy is more or less the same? Hence, you need to make the value offering more unequal. Decreasing the value perception of the prospect’s current set-up will do that.
Most important, is to do this in a respectful yet challenging way, for example: “Dear prospect, your current set-up may not get you the results you are looking for”. This will make the prospect think: “What if we have currently the wrong supplier, to achieve what we are trying to achieve”. You deflate their value perception of their current suppliers. They realize their set-up may not be ready for their next future vision. To make your statement impactful you need to know two things:
- What the prospect is trying to achieve as a business, long term?
- Why you believe they may be less successful achieving that vision with their current set-up
To do this well you need to have built great situational knowledge, an opinion on business improvements, and guts to discuss the risks of not changing. With this statement, you have made the gap to what they currently have and what they potentially buy much bigger.
Watch the body language of your prospect when sharing your statement. What you want to hear is: “Tell me more…”. Keep it respectful, to the point, and factful. I am sure you now have the prospect’s attention.
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