By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Image courtesy of Franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Most everyone has heard the expression that patience is a virtue. Through the years when someone asks me to describe the major difference between A Players (superior) and B/C Players (average) salespeople in one word, my response: Patience.
B/C Players often get into premature product discussions. Once product is mentioned, many buyers will ask: “How much does it cost?” This often begins a death spiral because if no value has been identified, any cost will seem high.
I believe there are a several reasons sellers dive into product too soon:
- Their companies provide extensive product training.
- Many sellers and vendors believe part of a seller’s job is educating buyers (even though few executive buyers want to learn all about offerings).
- Talking about offerings is a comfort zone for salespeople.
- Asking relevant questions and responding to buyers’ answers is challenging.
My view is that sellers should earn the right to talk about offerings by having buyers conclude early in sales calls that they are sincere and competent. In order to avoid boiling the ocean it would be helpful for sellers to go into calls with a menu of business outcomes that are relevant to the title they are calling on and can be achieved through the use of their offering. Sharing title-specific Success Stories and asking some probing questions are ways to have sellers share business goals.
Having buyers share a business goal is a watershed event. Both seller and buyer now understand a desired outcome. Once again, however, patience is necessary. Many B/C Players dive right into their offerings. The downside of doing that is that it will be a “spray and pray” exercise without knowing a buyer’s requirements. A Players begin asking diagnostic questions to understand why the buyer can’t achieve the desired outcome.
After doing so, they can present only the features/capabilities of their offerings that are likely to be relevant to the buyer. Patience in earning the right to discuss a seller’s offering should provide superior buying experiences for Key Players.