The selling process may be unpredictable – you can win a deal on the first or second call, or you may lose a customer before you even blink.
To ensure you will succeed in the earlier stages, there are a couple of things you can do to set yourselves apart and stay on target. How can you win earlier in the game? Let’s look at some repeatable habits that will ensure you achieve success sooner rather than later in the customer’s journey.
#1 Be selfless and curious
The reality is that people hate being sold to. Prospects often put their guard up when they feel like they are being pushed to make a deal. You will often lose the sale the second a customer feels they are being pressured. The simplest way to start is to focus on the needs of the customer – asking them questions about what they want instead of questions that are self-serving.
#2 Learn about the customer and their business
Don’t be focused on closing the deal as much as learning about how you can help the customer’s business.
Prospects are people and can see our intentions clearly. If your desire to close the sale is greater than your desire to help, your prospect will read that immediately and head the other direction. The solution is to be genuinely interested in the prospect’s business, their problems, and how you can help. Be more empathetic. Try to target the problem and the person’s challenge. Put yourself in their shoes, and be genuine about your intentions.
Studies have shown that buyers have reached your product before contacting you, researching them before following up with them is paramount.
#3 Research, research, research
By this, we don’t mean asking the question, “What keeps you up at night?” This isn’t 1999 when we called the shots (something that has changed as the selling process has become more customer-centric). Get more specific, and lead with insight. You will gain the prospect’s trust, and they will recognize that you are interested in helping them succeed.
Building trust starts with zeroing in on the customer’s pain points. People are buying a solution to a problem they are experiencing. If you can find the problem, you can deliver the solution. Start by getting on a sales call, and talk numbers: Are they reaching their revenue goals? Are they working with hard, measurable metrics?
Data and analytics are two elements that should be part of the discussion early on in the sales cycle. Start talking numbers immediately to push the conversation forward as your customers realize that your solution really does solve their problems – and you can deliver results on their bottom line.
Act as a facilitator and a collaborator. Set up a deal with a prospect’s pain points in mind, and at the same time move toward closing the deal. If done right, both sides can win. You will not only help the customer – but will also help yourself close a deal earlier in the sales cycle.
How effective are you at the onset of the sales process? Are you talking raw numbers? Are you feeling empathetic and want your customer to succeed? Be selfless…be curious. It is possible to close the deal earlier in the sales cycle when we approach the selling process with the right methodology.