How to be a Valuable Resource for Everyone You Meet
From selling solutions to challenging customers and prospects, there seems to be a never-ending barrage of recommendations for salespeople. Tell a better story, bring insights, focus on solving problems, and the list goes on and on.
In reality, most of these recommendations are directionally correct and most salespeople would benefit from being able to improve in all of these areas. However, and here is the catch, the people they call on, the prospective buyers, likely would not benefit – at least not in the near term.
Unfortunately, telling a more compelling story usually requires a better understanding of the prospect’s specific situation and underlying motivation. If there really was just one, incredibly compelling story that would convince everyone who hears it to buy … well, we would call that a 1970’s Coca-Cola commercial, and we probably wouldn’t need salespeople anymore. Moreover, challenging them with insights is great, if you actually know more about their business than they do – about as rare as volcanic lightning. And of course, helping buyers solve their problems requires we understand exactly what those problems are. Or does it?
In reality, there is really only one reason a modern buyer meets with a seller, and it isn’t to relieve their boredom or make a new friend. It is because they need help. You see, all buyers who take the time to meet with sellers have a singular problem:
They don’t know which product or service, if any of them, they should buy.
Think about this for just a moment. If a buyer knows exactly what she wants, there is rarely a need to meet with even one salesperson, let alone several. Most products and services can be purchased over the internet with little or no salesperson interaction. Now perhaps you’re thinking, “but she doesn’t know about MY product or service.” At one time, about 20 years ago, that may have been true. But today there is so much product information available online that she can probably learn as much about your product as you know. In fact, she may well find someone in her own network that has already used it.
So, the only reason to meet with salespeople is to get help figuring out which alternative is truly best.
This is the first or primary problem, for every buyer with whom you meet.
Unfortunately for the buyer, most salespeople are so focused on their product or service solutions that they are unable to help buyers solve their most basic problem – making an intelligent, informed buying decision. If the salesperson is driving to get an order, and the buyer is trying to figure out what’s best, there is a conflict of objectives from the very beginning of the relationship.
While this creates huge challenges for most sellers, it can create tremendous opportunities for those who are skilled at helping people make better, more informed buying decisions. When salespeople learn to think like buyers, they differentiate themselves throughout the buyer’s journey and transform their relationships. Not only do these people develop stronger, more sustainable relationships, they will deliver dramatically better sales results.
Want to transform your relationships? Join us at the STAR MindExchange event where we will be conducting the session, “Creating Value-Based Consultative Conversations for Sales.”
Can’t attend the event? Visit us on the web at www.axiomsfd.com to arrange a conversation. While we may not have the best solution for your sales organization, we can definitely help you figure out who does.
Bob Sanders has more than 25 years experience in sales, sales management, and marketing. Bob has served as President and CEO of AXIOM Sales Force Development from 2006 to 2018. His passion about sales behavior and coaching helps develop people into their best selves. Since Bob joined AXIOM as a partner in the fall of 1993, he's helped dozens of companies around the world generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue. Bob holds a degree in Marketing from Miami University. He has been a keynote speaker at numerous corporate events and industry conferences. He is a founding underwriter and frequent contributor to the Sales Management Association. He co-authored AXIOM's “Selling Sciences Program™” workbook and audio program, and is a contributor on "A Journey to Sales Transformation". When Bob is not advocating on behalf of buyers and sellers worldwide, he is an avid cyclist, father, and husband.