What you communicate to your customers says a lot about the type of seller you are. What you think your potential customer is going to be interested in, and what you think they will find compelling, is a window into what they can expect from you, as well as the likelihood of earn his business. Not all sales conversations are created equal, some being extremely valuable to your customer, while others completely miss the mark.
What you choose to communicate also gives an idea of your development as an advisory seller. It’s something like Eleanor Roosevelt: "Small minds talk about people, middle minds talk about events and big minds talk about ideas."
Low value conversations
Too many salespeople communicate as if their customers are buying agents, not decision-makers. The purchasing agent might be interested in a conversation that resembles the questions of a request for proposal. They may want to know the history of your business, its financial stability, the customers you already serve and discover your products, services and solutions. They are just trying to buy what they need, and for a buying agent, the product is the product and a seller is a seller.
Decision makers in complex B2B sales don't find these conversations compelling and find them useful. They usually see the above conversation as a waste of time. Although they are polite and listen, the choice to talk about these things should not lead to another meeting.
There are many reasons why you can start a conversation around your business and your solution. You may have learned and trained that this is the best way to establish your credibility with the client, by relying on your business to prove that you belong to the room, which would have been the right choice in the 1980s. You can also start this way, because the PowerPoint presentation provided by your company begins with eight slides on your company, followed by your product offering and your unique selling proposition. This is another decades old model that has lost much of its value.
But sales success is individual. Most salespeople start conversations about creating low value because they lack the business acumen and situational knowledge or confidence to start the conversation that their customer would find most valuable. They also don't have the B2B sales model or training and development necessary to be successful.
There is a specific type of salesperson who enters his client's office with a notepad and a pen, or perhaps an iPad. They may or may not have a business card, and if they have a set of slides, the content will have almost nothing to do with their business, with the exception of their logo. Their credibility will not be generated by anything outside; everything will be internal. The conversation will not only provide credibility, but will also position them as peers, advisers and advisers.
Instead of talking about their business, they will talk about the business of their potential client. Instead of sharing what makes their business special, they will share a view that provides their client with context, doing the work of making sense, helping their contacts understand their world and exploring the changes that may be necessary for their future results. . Instead of asking questions designed to cause the customer to exhibit a gap in their performance, dissatisfaction, the questions they ask will help the customer learn something they did not know before meeting the seller.
Decision makers are interested in pursuing their strategic goals and find the conversations about the results more interesting than the history of the company, the members of the board of directors, the investors or the products. They want to understand what they could do to improve their results, why they might consider something different and how they can generate better results.
The reason you talk about these things is that you know it's what is needed to win big deals because you know it's what makes you advisory. You also have the knowledge and experience, or you have been well trained and developed in a modern sales approach, which does not depend on external credibility factors or an obsolete approach to professional sales.
The value of business conversation
You might recognize that low value conversations are designed to be valuable to the seller, first by allowing them to feel credible, and secondly by allowing them to talk about what makes their business and their solutions special. . It is self-orientated as it is designed to serve the seller and his business, even if this approach goes against the desired results.
The conversation of greatest value serves the client by helping him to pursue his goals and objectives by providing the context and information that creates a possibility or potential, something greater than looking for a problem and solving it with your solution. There is no reason to meet a client if you are not already aware of the issues with which he will already have trouble and ideas on how to help him think better about his business. . It is a conversation geared towards another.
No one starts their sales career with more valuable conversations, although many now start somewhere further down this path when given the development opportunities and coaching to activate the skills and approach. But if you find yourself in low-value conversations, you need to do everything you can to acquire a modern approach and work to become the type of salesperson who offers greater value through the sales conversation.
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