Overheard a conversation once that went along the lines of “You’re a typical salesperson, you promise me the earth, but you end up giving me Afghanistan”.
We all come up against these sorts of salespeople, whose attitude appears to be “Promise them everything up front and worry about how we’re going to deliver it later”. Even as they’re saying it they know they and their business won’t possibly be able to deliver.
The issue for us is that potential customers are taken in by the sales patter which will often have no substance behind it. Given that most salespeople hard sell, it can be difficult for customers to segregate the lies from the truth.
So, how do we compete with these lower-priced competitors whose promises we know won’t hold up in the longer-term?
The first thing we’d say is to be true to yourself, be open and honest and don’t bullshit. (Technical term) Yes that’s fine (I hear you say) but other salespeople bullshitting is costing us business!
Here’s what high performers do:
You’ll see in these pages that we recommend a thorough needs analysis prior to offering your clients any products or services (solutions). The majority of salespeople don’t do this so when it comes to your client making a decision, they have very little to go on other than a group of salespeople hard selling their products.
As salespeople we should show our expertise by the questions we ask. The more you explore the needs of your clients, the more they will understand that you’re trying to build a relationship with them. And they’ll love you for it!
In exploring the needs of our clients we show them that relationship based consultative selling is not hard selling, and it makes them realise that we’re interested in their business and their needs and issues.
By uncovering their needs we make them realise that ‘we’re on their side’ and prepared to do whatever we can to satisfy their needs. Compare this to your competitors who haven’t even bothered to understand their needs.
This could involve going that bit further in the needs analysis process by:
• Visiting their site.
• Meeting other senior managers.
• Interviewing their staff.
• Talking to some of their customers.
• Walking their customer pathway.
The education process is for their benefit as much as yours. Proper needs-based selling involves the client coming up with the answers to their own problems. This is all part of the education process.
In making the extra effort that we’ve detailed above you show your willingness to do that little bit extra for the client. Remember that your client will be thinking that you’ll never try harder than when you’re first trying to win their business, so it’s important you give it your best shot!
If you’ve got one salesperson trying to flog you something and the other exploring your needs and trying to build a relationship with you, which one would you choose? Quality and education starts with the initial discussion and never ends, if you’re not adding value to your client at all times, what are you there for?