Sales Tips: 3 Keys to Diagnosing a Buyer's Current Situation
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company
It seems everyone is in a hurry these days unless they’re retired. When people ask for one word that describes how superior vs. mediocre people sell I give a one-word answer: Patience. By that I mean they know you must first understand a buyer’s needs before having any product discussions.
Key #1: One of the ways to slow sellers down is to have them realize there is no selling to be done until a buyer shares a business goal (or a problem) they’re willing to spend money to achieve. If sellers entered every call with a menu of potential goals for each title, I believe there would be a significant improvement in the outcomes.
Key #2: A very unfortunate thing can occur after executives share goals. Some salespeople believe it gives them permission to launch into product pitches because buyers have expressed interest. Once again, patience is required.
A Players realize buyers they call on don’t fully understand why they can’t achieve their desired outcomes.
If buyers knew, they’d fix things rather than take time to talk with salespeople!
A top-performing seller will ask a series of diagnostic questions to help buyers realize what may be “broken” in their current approach (without a seller’s offering). I refer to selling as a “hurt and rescue” exercise. When a buyer and seller are in agreement as to what areas are preventing desired outcomes to be achieved, wonderful things happen. It means the seller has established credibility and competence and that the buyer is more ready for the “rescue.”
Key #3: At this point, based upon how buyers answered diagnostic questions sellers should only discuss capabilities relevant to achieving the desired goal. This ultimately allows sellers to empower buyers rather than sell them. The question becomes: If you had the capabilities we discussed, could you (achieve your goal?)
The seller that does the best diagnosis is most likely to win the business.
Remember: People buy from sellers that are sincere, competent and empower them.