By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®
Bad things happen early in calls when sellers mention products. The two buyer responses that seem most common:
- “I don’t need it.”
- “How much does it cost?”
These seller wounds are self-inflicted. Little good comes of referring to products prematurely. In the clear light of day early in calls, sellers likely don’t know whether or not there is a need and certainly would want to defer pricing discussions until after some potential value had been established. In other words, sellers should earn the right to mention products/features.
When buyers share either a desired business outcome or problems, they often don’t know the reasons they can’t achieve/address them. In such instances, sales can be viewed as a “hurt and rescue” mission. By that I mean:
Sellers must help buyers realize how their current way of doing business is “broken.”
A critical part of diagnoses is knowing that within their offerings, sellers have “fixes.”
It would be cruel and unusual to hurt buyers and leave them hanging. The diagnostic questions should be designed to allow sellers to offer only those “fixes” that are relevant to buyers achieving desired business outcomes. Based upon the way buyers answer questions sellers should be aware of which features/capabilities should be offered.
Product training is rampant for sellers. Few executives will sit still and tolerate “spray and pray” pitches. By asking the right questions and listening to the answers sellers can take a different approach to selling. By doing so, they can earn the right to mention only those parts of offerings that are relevant. That said, one size does not fit all. Different titles are likely to have different desired outcomes and need different features.
Taking this approach allows sellers to build value in the minds of buyers so that pricing should seem much more reasonable than it would have been in the first few minutes of a call.