A great deal on a new roof today, is no good to me if I’m only just digging the foundations!
You may be selling a great product but if the buyer doesn’t need it right now you are wasting their time (and yours) and potentially alienating yourself from a future sale.
The reason why ‘consultative selling’ works is that it is based on habit #5 of Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This reads “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood”. If you work in sales and haven’t read this book then I would advise you do so ASAP!
If you know your product or service can help the client but not right now, then trying to close a deal is quite frankly, stupid! A good sales person will instead put themselves in prime position for a future sale.
Good sales people are ‘enablers’, they know what the client needs to have/do before they will be ready for THEIR product or service. They have the knowledge and contacts to help a prospect to get to a point where they CAN sell to them.
Let me give you an example. Let’s suppose you sell CRM software but it only works on Windows 10. The prospect is on an older version of Windows but does appreciate the need to upgrade. They can’t afford to upgrade their systems and purchase your CRM at the same time. They feel they got a bad deal on their last PC upgrade and are worried that could happen again. By helping the client source a quality PC upgrade through your reliable and trusted contacts ASAP you become an ‘enabler’. They then buy your CRM faster because you expedited their PC upgrade through a connection.
Some might say “Why are you wasting your time with prospects that can’t buy now? Did you not do any ‘qualifying’?” Given the level of business information that is available via the internet, I think old style qualifying is no longer needed. ALSO, you try cold calling a business and ‘qualifying’ them! They are more likely to qualify YOU! Is this a sales call? Is he/she expecting your call? It’s not our policy to give such information out over the phone! Are you on our supplier list? Good luck with that!
I have NEVER been to an initial sales meeting that was a waste of time. Why? because I always learned something.
Why not go and see prospects with an open mind. Check there is synergy between your two businesses. Understand where the business is on their development journey. Offer help and advice that has nothing to do with what you sell. If the prospect can genuinely see you are interested in them and their business, they will be more open and give you better information about their plans and ambitions.
The profession of selling has changed because buying has changed. Stop using outdated sales processes that simply don’t work in the digital age.
Thanks for reading.
Stuart Allen @StuartAllenFCMI
01905 384314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Social media and sales training in Worcester, Worcestershire and across the UK.