When a client engages us to help their sales staff, we often ask to interview their top performers. Our purpose is to decode their selling DNA and identify the markers that make them so successful. One common thing we’ve found is that top sales performers consistently help their customers to meet their objectives by selling business value.
There are three tactics these top sellers employ to establish value:
- Get to the cost of the problem today. Buyers will face any number of problems. Great sales people help buyers define in totality all the costs those problems bring. The cost may be non-monetary like low morale or frustration, but costs that strike the bottom line are numbers that are heard by every person involved in making the buying decision. When you are the high-priced product in the market, it seems that every buyer asks about prices first. Great sellers shape and frame conversations around the costs of the buyer’s problems, not on the price of their solution.
- Tell stories. Stories help the buyers discover for themselves the problems they are facing or the solutions that are needed. Great sales people have several stories, personal experiences that they share depending on the situation or desired outcome. They share stories when the conversation lulls and the buyer is unable to articulate problems. Stories have purpose and you begin them by framing who they are about, their problem, a turning point, and a resolution. Stories not only get to problems, they can be used to describe how others use and derive business value from your products.
- Summarize the conversation in writing. All sellers tell me that they create meeting summaries, but few do it well. We sell our services to many companies in different industries. I am constantly referring to the meeting summary emails I’ve written as follow up after our conversations. These emails summarize the problems they are facing, the costs these problems are causing, the solutions we discussed and value of those solutions, and, of course, the next steps as discussed. This helps the customer and I keep the focus on the problems we are trying to solve. Great sales people don’t rely on memory. They summarize the meeting conversations by writing it down, sharing it with the customer, and allowing the customer to give feedback.
Have you used any of these techniques to establish value in your sales process? Do you have others you use? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org