Selling The Way Customers Want To Buy.
1. Solving Customer Problems
Think about your most recent purchase. Whether you purchased a car, television, fridge-freezer, furniture, or mobile phone you probably had some thoughts on the salesperson’s approach, style or technique. Did the salesperson really listen to your needs, did the selling style match your buying style? Did the salesperson simply rattle off a list of the products features or did they try to understand your buying drivers and relate what the product could do for you and explain the benefits in a way that involved your buying criteria?
The way we sell technology should be the way we sell anything else – selling the way customers want to buy. Technology business customers’ interests lie in solving business issues and implementing long term strategies, not in hardware features, line speeds and bits and bytes.
Business benefits-driven, industry specific,messages, are the most effective way for gaining the interests of customers. Focus your approach and account management on the customer’s business objectives and prioritise your benefit statements accordingly – industry / business knowledge and solution selling skills are essential.
Don’t get drawn into a competitive product technical features battle. When dealing with competition focus the discussion on problem solving, opportunity development and business benefits you have identified jointly with the customer and made part of the buying criteria. Make the competition compete on your terms and show how you can solve or deliver the customers criteria better than your competitors can. If you have true value added advantages it will be very difficult for the competition to out-sell your solution.
Sales training should provide the tools to help sales people understand their target customers business and become expert in identifying problems and opportunities - specifying solutions and even introducing thought leadership and innovation. Industry knowledge allows you to develop a client-consultant relationship that is critical for account development and long term success. Solution selling skills help you to ask good relevant questions and relate that knowledge to specific sales situations.
Think about your last few sales calls did you sell product features, or did you focus on solving the customer’s problems. If you cannot match your technology to realistic business needs, then you are probably wasting your time.
This article is the first in a series, based on Advanced Sales Training Programmes, that deal with:
- Developing and Implementing Your Sales Process and Selling Strategies
- Understanding Your Customer and Identifying Opportunities
- Planning, Running and Managing a Sales Meeting
- The Sales Conversation - Implementing Your Strategy