Take the Trip Together

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Salespeople have this incredible hunger to “close” the deal. All those not-so-wonderful sales school training programs that teach us to “close more business“, “negotiate the sale“, or “overcome objections to get the deal” have created an incredibly inefficient sales monster.

There is one correct truth:

Clients buy when they are ready, not when someone else decides they are ready or need to be ready.

Yes, it is entirely possible to help move undecided or tentative or deliberate customers down the decision making path; however, it is not done simply by finding creative, clever, aggressive, or assertive ways to make them want or like your product.

Having been conditioned that the best measurement of sales success is a closed deal. As a rsult of that pressure, sales professionals fall into the trap of trying to make things happen too soon.

In many cases, sales professionals can and do correctly sense when there is a business opportunity for them. Simply because there is a business opportunity, does not mean it is going to occur at the pace they desire or is going to occur at all simply because they discovered the opportunity. The opportunity is only going to become a reality when the client discovers the same desire or need that the sales professional already uncovered. And their discovery is not dependent upon an effective sales pitch, presentation, proposal and arm twisting process.

Rather than jump ahead to the pitch, close and press process so readily advocated in sales school, the best methodology is to work backwards and help define what the customers needs to know, learn, discover and understand in order to get the place where the salesperson is. By taking the client on a discovery walk, the salesperson acts more like a consultant and educator. As the client learns along the way, the trust and credibility of the salesperson improves and the business relationship strengthened. Once the client makes a decision that they can understand, embrace, and defend (from knowledge) the appreciation the client has for the process and the commitment of the sales professional is enhanced even more.

The best way to “get” your clients to want the products you believe they need, is to:

  1. Help them to define and articulate their current situation.
  2. Work with them to define what they desire to change, improve, correct or eliminate.
  3. Have them describe their goals and expectations.
  4. Help them discover the gaps and obstacles.
  5. Educate them (generically) to understand the options and alternatives.
  6. Provide them the answers — when, and only when, they ask for your advice

When you take the learning journey with your client, you are adding to your value and improving your credibility. While it may have taken just a little longer to get to the point where you “tell” them what they need to do; this time, they are listening and trusting you enough that they will very likely do it. Getting to “yes” in this fashion saves you more time and energy than in any other sales process — I guarantee it!!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Cooke
I leverage my 25 years experience in sales and marketing to create and implement strategic initiatives and develop educational programs that increase both revenues and profits. I take great pride in my experience in turbulent, chaotic, and transitional work environments. It is from these experiences that I have developed my commitment to collaborative teams, strong internal and external relationships, effective communication, decisive leadership, and a cohesive, collaborative strategy as keys to sustainable revenue growth.

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