Selling today has changed from the pre-pandemic times. But selling has always been changing. The fundamental process we use to win and keep good customers is the same. Because fundamentals are, well, fundamental. How we deal with buyers now is different from years past. So what are great salespeople doing now to be thinking like a buyer?
Buyers Are Better Informed
Just like great salespeople can find out an incredible amount of information about the prospect before making contact, so can buyers find out much about you. By the time you have that first meeting, whether in person or more likely virtual, the buyer will know a lot about your company and you. So you need to think like a buyer and keep your available information up to date and informative. This gives the buyer a chance to start building trust with you.
The First Meeting Is Different Now
In days long past we would make the first sales call to gather information. No longer do we need to ask: “What does your company do?”. Great sales people will already know about the company, their markets, their competition and problems they need solving. So we can now skip the discovery questioning and move into problem solving. Conversations can start with: “I saw in the Wall Street Journal your business is acquiring company X. I’d like to discuss how we can help you merge your inventory systems.” Or “I read an interview with your CEO who was lamenting supply shortages. Would you be interested in hearing how we have solved the supply shortage problem with other companies?” Great salespeople who are thinking like a buyer now lead with a teaser for the solution to a problem.
It’s Not About You
Great salespeople who are thinking like a buyer know better than to promote their products first. Perhaps in years gone by it was effective to lay out the whole product line then ask which one the buyer wanted to buy. But that doesn’t work today. Buyers don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. So first build trust by getting to know the buyer and their needs. Then you might say: “I understand supply chain problems are affecting your profitability. I’d like to work with you to solve the supply shortages.” Or “Other companies we have worked with on supply chain issues have seen their profit increase 4%.” Great salespeople know the key to winning and keeping good customers is to work with them to solve problems.
Money Is Still Important
I can remember the day when we salespeople were told to not discuss money until the prospect was convinced of the solution. Now thinking like a buyer I don’t avoid the money issue. Instead I approach the price of the solution in relation to the cost of the problem. By asking good open-ended questions about the problem, great salespeople steer the buyer into stating the cost of the problem. For example: “The employee shortage and turnover affect your customer service. If you had a simpler point-of-sale system your new employees would learn it faster and make fewer mistakes. How much would that save you?” Great salespeople know money is important to the buyer. They are transparent about the price and value of their offer.
What You Can Do Right Now Thinking Like A Buyer
- Realize the buyer knows all about you
- Be prepared to offer substantial value
- Act as consulting partner to the buyer
The nudge to write this post came from LinkedIn Sales Blog. It’s great reading to help you think like a buyer.
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Seven, Understanding Buyer Behavior, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales encouragement, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.