Too often we hear what we think we want to hear and jump right to the close. It sounds something like this:
Client: “Well Mr. Salesperson I need to create a more effective, mobile, competitive salesforce.”
Salesperson: “I’m happy to hear you’re being so aggressive these days. I know I can help you with our new Whizmatic 2000 offering that will streamline your I.T. processes, automate your salesforce and save you money. Do you have just 30 minutes right now for me to tell you about how you can achieve such dramatic results?”
Not a bad question, but horrible timing. Think of your sales calls as dinner parties. You wouldn’t ask your guests if they’d like an appetizer and then rush them into dessert, would you? No. Appetizers would be followed by a soup course, then a salad course, the main entree and then followed by dessert. Your guests certainly would appreciate such timing and you would be perceived a gracious and competent host.
In a professional, solution sales oriented, consultative sales call the order of events is:
- Understand your client’s strategy
- Understand your client’s business drivers. (What’s driving their Strategic direction?)
- Understand your client’s chosen direction(s) to reach their strategic goals. (What do they think the solution is today?)
- Understand your client’s perceived challenges to achieving success.
Only then can you begin to effectively position your solution by showing how you can help them achieve success, overcome any challenges, work in concert with their business drivers and meet their strategic goals and initiatives.
Look at the example below and think about how much better prepared the sales professional will be if they know all the information illustrated in the 4 discussion points.
Remember, timing is everything. There are no shortcuts. Seldom are there any “do-overs”. Be prepared to be professional, and your client will appreciate the difference and, over time, be willing to work with you as a trusted advisor rather than seeing you as “just another sales-guy”.
Photo by Paul Kehrer