Is your product great, but your prospects aren’t buying?
You know your product or service will help customers, but do they feel that you know and understand them?
Are they feeling the love in your sales process?
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I was recently coaching a portfolio manager of a financial firm whose fund was performing above the industry norm. However, she was having difficulties raising money from the investment marketplace.
Essentially, her product was good, but her sales efforts were not. The firm’s sales team had all but given up on taking her out to the marketplace.
After working with her for an hour, I could see why. We ran a mock pitch, and whenever the customer would mention some of his investment challenges, she would go right into how good her product was.
She was in love with her product and wanted to push it on buyers. She wasn’t showing the love to the client.
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Imagine your right knee is troubling you and you visit a knee specialist.
The doctor greets you warmly and politely asks you about your summer holidays. After some more rapport-building, he asks, “So what can we do for you today?”
“Well, doctor,” you start, “my knee has been aching for the past few weeks. At first I thought it would go away like most things, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”
The doctor looks at you and says, “I’ve got the perfect solution. Let’s transplant it.”
“Sorry?” you ask, with a huge dose of skepticism.
“A transplant will have you feeling like 20-years-old again,” the doctor says. “I’ve got the most technologically-advanced synthetic knees ever developed. Guaranteed to last a lifetime. Recuperation time is under 45 days.”
The doctor continues to provide you with a handful of features of the product, a synthetic knee, and then really sweetens the deal.
“And I’ll tell you what. If you decide today, I can do both of your knees for the price of one. That includes materials, equipment, my time and the clinic.”
Medical professionals don’t do that! So why do so many business development and salespeople?
Being a truly consultative, customer-focused salesperson is not about tailoring a presentation to suit what you believe the prospective customer will want. It’s about interacting in a consultative way during the meeting and after any initial opening or presentation.
The axiom “diagnose before you prescribe” applies to sales.
On the one hand, this helps you identify the real issues the customer has in areas where you can potentially help.
On the other hand, this builds trust.
You’re not a sales dog; you’re a business professional seeking partnerships.
Here again, it’s like love. You’re not a pick-up artist; you’re a rounded individual seeking partnership.
Listening is one of the greatest trust builders. Asking good questions promotes listening. And asking great questions demonstrates professionalism and also builds trust.
Of course you know your stuff, and you know how it applies to customer needs. But proposing a solution at the mere mention of a problem wreaks of prescribing before fully diagnosing.
A good knee doctor will ask you a series of questions and explore:
- “Are you a runner?”
- “Is it dull and constant, or acute and intermittent?”
- “Roll up your pant leg. Let me have a good look.”
- “I would suggest a scan before we can really see what’s happening…”
This example may seem rather simplistic, but that’s the point.
No matter what you’re selling, from financial products to media solutions, you’re dealing with people. Trust is paramount.
Trust is the greatest factor in a sale. Pushing your solution at the first mention of a customer challenge is like prescribing before diagnosing, and that’s a real trust-breaker.
Plan good questions (topic for more than one future post here), listen, and follow-up not just with the planned questions, but questions relevant to what the customer is saying.
A good knee surgeon has questions that he probably uses every day. He diagnoses before he prescribes.
As a professional salesperson, so should you.
Go deep into your prospect’s mind… and heart. Build trust. Spread the love.
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I help sales teams improve their performance by putting the “love” into the sales process. The tools and techniques vary, but the mindset is simply a heart-set.
Let’s talk about love and sales. Contact me here and let’s set up a call.
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Photo by Vic on Flickr.
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