By knowing what stage of the buying process that your dream client is in you are better prepared to ensure that your sales call is a valuable experience for them.
If they are satisfied, you may make the experience valuable for them by helping the identify gaps in their performance that they didn’t know existed. If they have identified that they have unmet needs and that they are in fact dissatisfied, you can help them identify what will be necessary to improve their performance (and perhaps write the A column in doing so). If they are evaluating their many options, you can help them understand which offerings are best suited to getting them the outcome they need. If they are resolving concerns, you can educate them as to where the real risks lie and how best of avoid them.
Good qualifying can reveal the stage of the buying process, but you won’t always be able to discern it before your call. If you don’t know before hand, you have to discern it pretty quickly once you are in front of your dream client, lest you waste their time.
Prerequisite: Confirm Your Agenda and Include Their Agenda
To ensure that your dream client has a worthwhile experience and is willing to commit to an advance that includes future appointments, you need to confirm that your agenda meets the criteria that they believe will make their time with you valuable.
After you have laid out your agenda, ask your dream client if there is anything that they would like to add to the agenda. It is important that you ask if they have anything to add so that you are sure to include it, and it is a mistake not to have an agenda of your own walking in the door and ceding control of your sales call to your client (or worse, leaving them with the impression that you had no agenda).
Showing up without a strong, defined agenda is a sign that you are a time-waster and not a value creator.
Prerequisite: Have a List of Powerful Questions
Questions have the ability to uncover problems, challenges, and opportunities. Powerful questions have the ability to also define you as a professional and are far more influential than many statements you may make as a salesperson.
Your dream clients benefit by your asking questions that help them to determine where their performance gaps are, how they might be improved, and what it will take to make those improvements. There is no doubt that asking these questions is to your benefit, helping you position yourself and your offering as the right solution.
But asking the questions in a way that benefits your client and positions you are two ideas that should not be mutually exclusive, and you are there sitting across from them to sell. They know this and agreed to see you. Asking the tough, but powerful questions define you as a consultative seller.
Help Them To Better Understand Their Needs
One outcome that will ensure that your dream client finds their time with you to be valuable is helping them to better understand their needs. Doing a killer needs analysis can help your client better define the performance that they need to succeed and to compete and win in their space.
A needs analysis that extends beyond a single visit can include helping your dream client to understand the ground truth. It can also help them to understand and develop the change management plan that will be necessary to move their organization forward.
You can confirm this by asking the question: “Did you find this meeting to be helpful in defining and sorting out some of your needs?”
Help Them See Their Vision of a Better Future More Clearly
Eventually, on some sales call, you will present your solution. You will be tempted to make this all about you. That isn’t what your presentation should be about. Your presentation should tell the story of how you and your dream client will walk forward into a better future together.
Of course you are going to spend time exploring what you bring to that relationship, but only as it helps provide the details as to how what you do will better enable what your dream client does.
Your presentation has to include an outcome that benefits your dream client and not just by influencing them to choose you (even though you have to believe that this is a benefit to them). It has to help them see more clearly what it will take to get the results they need AND position you as the right choice to help them.
You can confirm that you created value by asking the question: “Did this help to restate your needs, and how we could work together to improve these results?”
This short post doesn’t begin to cover all of the ways that you can create value on a sales call, but it should get your juices flowing about what your responsibility is on every call, and how you can go about ensuring you create it.
To advance from commitment to commitment in moving your deal forward, you have to create the value on every sales call that will earn you the right to your next sales call.
- How do you want your dream client to be changed by having spent their time with you?
- How can knowing what stage of the buying process your dream client is in enable you to create value in the buying process?
- How can you ensure that you add your dream client’s agenda is covered in your agenda without ceding control of your agenda?
- Do you have a set of value-creating power questions that line up with your dream client’s buying process?
- What is the intention of your needs analysis? Is all about helping you sell, or does it also help your dream client buy?
- What is the intention of your presentation? Is to convince them to buy, or is to help them see their way to a better future (one that includes you, of course)?
For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4279.
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