Early in my career as a sales professional, I remember feeling like most of the time when I walked into a prospect’s office, I was at a disadvantage. At first I thought it was my nerves or my inexperience, but after about a year of feeling it, I knew it was something more.
Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re at a disadvantage with a potential buyer the moment you shake hands? Have you ever wondered why? It would be easy to blame it on the economy or the fact that you’re running neck and neck with the competition.
But many times I found that the disadvantage I felt was not because of me, but because of my prospects, and the preconceived notions they had about me before we even started the sales call.
The real reason many sales pros are at a disadvantage these days is because the prospects, even before you start the sales conversation, are probably thinking a couple of things about you. “This man doesn’t really understand my business,” or “This lady isn’t going to listen to me.”
And unfortunately for us, 90% of the time, it’s the truth. These preconceived notions are the main cause of what I call Seller Deficit Disorder and many times it’s a disadvantage that can keep you from achieving sales success.
In this five-part series, I’ll explore the top five symptoms of Seller Deficit Disorder and give you tips for overcoming it.
Symptom No. 1: Buyers Don’t Believe You Understand Their Pain
The bottom line in sales is:
Without business pain, there is no business. Meaning, if your prospects don’t have a problem that needs solving, they won’t be buying anything.
It’s your goal to listen to your prospects, understand their pain and establish a direct correlation between their pain and your product or service solution. By showing your buyers that you understand their pain, they will work harder to understand the solution you’re presenting.
So, how do you show prospects you understand their pain? First, ask the right questions. Two-sided discovery questions allow you to learn more about your prospect’s business and give the prospect the opportunity to learn by answering. Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead ask open-ended questions that start with “Tell me,” “Explain for me” and “Describe for me” (called TED questions) to uncover a prospect’s main pain points.
Second, really listen to their answers. By demonstrating your understanding of the customer’s business, you demonstrate integrity and genuine concern for their situation. You’ll earn credibility and the right to ask tougher questions such as, what happens when things don’t go well, and how much the problems are costing the company in time, money and missed opportunities.
If you do these things, you’ll create successful onramps for your customer conversations and increase your chances of driving a successful sale.
The next time you make a sales call, know that you may be going in with a disadvantage. Overcome it by asking the right questions, listening to the answers and creating successful onramps to customer conversations that overcome Seller Deficit Disorder.
What are your best tips for making sure you understand your prospect’s pain points and that your prospects know you understand? Leave a comment or contact me directly with your ideas, feedback and questions.