I saw an amazing statistic the other day based on research into the sales and the emergence of Buyer 2.0. Surveyed companies only said that 3% of interactions with salespeople were deemed as having value. Think about that number, of all the interactions only 3% added value. I always preached to my sales teams that they needed a Valid Business Reason to interact with their customers, something that was meaningful, spouting features and benefits is not that. Finding ways to impact business drivers, teaching and providing insight into industry challenges and solutions, and challenging status quo all are ways a sales person can add value to sales interactions. Ask yourself, how much value are you adding in the next sales call, simply quoting statistics, or providing quotes or discounting price can be done by a website. Are you adding insight, are you engaging in a discussion on business drivers that are important to your customer? How are you a subject matter expert? There are 5 things you can do before your next key appointment to bring value.
1. Do your homework. Understand the business environment of your customer, research trends, challenges and opportunities. Understand the organization, know how your company has solved problems for similar companies. How can you position your capabilities uniquely that addresses business drivers.
2. Don’t waste your prospects time. Have an agenda and a Valid Business Reason for the appointment, be prepared with questions, .
3. Ask The Right Questions. Your questions should focus on uncovering how the challenges your customer faces can be uniquely solved by your solutions and how dealing with your company and solution adds value, not just commoditization based on price. Provide education and insight to the macro level issues and solutions. Questions that further identify the problems, goals, challenges, needs and desired outcomes of the customer help to prioritize the needs of the customer and how that related to the urgency to solve the problems you can address.
4. Identify next steps and action items. Listen, take notes, summarize and make sure you have actionable items for both you and the customer identified and summarized before you leave. Just identifying a problem does not move the sell cycle along, Having buy in on the urgency and need to solve a problem as well as joint next steps help clarify the sense of urgency and priority for the customer to solve a problem.
5. Let the prospect buy. Assist the buying process, guide the process, customers buy for their own reasons not yours. Educate on how your solution can reduce risk and Insure that your customer sees you as a valuable partner and one that brings though leadership to the table.