By Robin Lines
Focus on Solving Problems
Great sellers balance what they want (the deal) with what the customer needs. A salesperson who listens to the customer’s problem and offers a solution is far more likely to make a good impression than a salesperson who hard-sells whatever they get the most commission for.
It’s important to know what your product is and what it does, but you need to be able to explain to your customer what it will do for them. If you can demonstrate that your product solves the specific problem the customer has, then not only are you closer to the sale, you are closer to building a long-term relationship.
Know Your Customer
When a new client comes through, do your research. Study their website, LinkedIn and Google for any information you can find about the company, about what it does, how it does it, culture, and leadership. Doing so will allow you to tailor your conversations, and will enable you to work out how to better demonstrate the relevance of your offering.
Try Not to Discuss the Competition
The moment you bring up your competitor, you plant the idea into your customer’s head that maybe they should shop around, or see what the competition has to offer. During conversations, it is better not to mention how your product is better than what X has to offer, or how your customer service is superior to Y.
Instead, you want to focus on your own differentiators. Put forth your arguments about your exceptional customer service, and the greatness of your product in a way that is mindful of your competition but doesn’t reference them. Should your client then choose to talk with your competitors, they will be drawn to compare a competitor’s offer to what you have already offered.
If You Must Discuss the Competition
Sometimes, you do need to know whether the customer is talking with the competition. Don’t ask them outright if they’re speaking with X or Y, but ask them if they’re talking with somebody else. If they are, fight the urge to invite comparisons. Do not be drawn into tit-for-tat battles such as “Well, our product is far more refined than theirs”. Instead, use your knowledge of your competitor to tailor your own pitch and discuss the advantages of your product without direct comparisons to theirs.
Teach, Tailor, Take Control
Your customer knows what they think they want, but sometimes what a client thinks they want is not what they need. In conversation with clients, look for ways to teach something to your clients. Try and alter their way of thinking by highlighting potential problem areas, or discussing difficulties that others have faced.
This allows you to tailor your solution and your pitch to serve the customer’s ongoing needs better. You want your customer to be excited and enthusiastic about the sales process because they feel that you get them and understand what they’re looking for.
Once you are satisfied that your customer is onboard with your solution, take control of the discussions. Be assertive, but not arrogant or demanding. Ask for a commitment to buy, look for ways to discuss aftersales services, and move the conversation along from the pitch to the close.
Want to Supercharge Your Sales Team?
Robin Lines Associates offers fully bespoke and comprehensive sales training programmes for any size business. With other thirty years’ experience, we can help your people become consistent sales winners and game-changers for your company’s prospects. We also offer a dedicated Key Account Management programme.
Professional Services Consultant
I'm a highly experienced, versatile and dynamic training facilitator and business coach, dedicated to assisting leaders in helping their people achieve their potential and realise goals. I also deliver a range of Consultative Selling and Key Account Management programmes, equipping salespeople with the skills, tools and methodologies to help them win and outsell their competition.