STOP Selling To Your Prospects – Help Them To Buy!
There is nothing more frustrating than a sales person trying to sell you something you don’t want! Don’t you agree?
If a prospective customer gives you a call, drops you an email or visits your store they are interested in your product or service. If they don’t make a purchase something has gone wrong in your sales process. And more often than not, the problem is that you have not uncovered your potential customer’s true needs.
With so much information now at our fingertips, and the ability to purchase almost anything online from the comfort of our couches, the modern sales professionals must really prove their value as consultants, rather than pushy sales people trying to sell their most expensive product. You must offer the right mix of assistance, understanding and advice to help clients make better decisions about what they buy.
By incorporating these 4 simple steps when first connecting with your prospects, it will help build their trust in you, guide them through the sales funnel faster, and if they’re a fit for your offering, it will most likely result in a sale:
1. Be Knowledgeable
To make the experience useful and genuine for your prospective customer, you must be an expert on the product or services you are selling and which they are interested in purchasing. Be one step ahead of your competitors. Advise your prospect about how your product or service differs from competitive offerings. Without this knowledge, the customer will soon see that they are better off going to the internet for answers, than talking with a sales person who doesn’t know their stuff!
2. Ask Relevant Questions
I cannot stress how important it is to understand your prospects needs. In most instances you are not selling a product, but rather a solution to a problem. Here are some good probing questions to get your prospect to open up so you uncover their real needs and present the perfect solution:
- What are you looking to improve on?
- Do you have any initial ideas of what you’d like and why?
- Who will be the users? Do they need to be involved in the final decision?
- How often will you use the products or services?
- What’s most important to you?
It’s also really useful to discover what the budget is to ensure you don’t waste your own, or their time going through products or services they are never going to buy! A good way to open up this discussion is by saying:
If you’re working towards a certain budget, and are happy to tell me broadly what it is, I can try and point you to the most relevant options.
The point of these questions is to find out enough to be able to advise your customer well.
3. Offer Solutions
Now that you have a full picture of your prospects needs, it’s time to offer your thoughts and solutions. Frame your suggestions with phrases like “I think I understand that A, B and C are most important to you. With that in mind, you may want to explore products X, Y and Z as they most closely meet your requirements.” Explain the differences between each product so that customers can prioritise what’s most important to them. Remember to keep it simple though – you don’t want to overload your prospect with too many options as this could lead to confusion and delayed decision-making.
4. Be Patient but don’t forget to follow up!
When you have presented your solutions, don’t rush the sale. Ask their opinion and develop your listening skills to give potential clients the opportunity to tell you what they really want. It’s important to not apply pressure, just offers of genuine help.
Finally, not all prospects will be willing to close the sale there and then. This doesn’t mean the sales process is over. Make sure you get their contact details, follow up to see if you can provide any more help or assistance and check in to see if they are well enough informed to make their decision and follow through on the sale.
If you would like to learn more about perfecting your sales process, why not sign up for a ManagementWorks Business Growth or Business Leadership programme. You can find out more about this programme without making any commitment by attending one of one of the free ManagementWorks Business Growth or Business Leadership workshops.
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Paul Fagan is Managing Director of Business Coaching Ireland, which is part of the largest business coaching, mentoring and training franchise company in the world, ActionCOACH Business Coaching. Business Coaching Ireland are providers of the ManagementWorks Business Growth Programme and Business Leadership Programme.