Your prospective client will treat you in a way that is consistent with how you approach them.
If you lead with your product, its features and benefits, and focus on the transaction and the price, then your prospective client will treat you like someone who has no ability to create real value (I call this Level 1). Your prospective client will perceive you as undifferentiated, and will believe that you are selling a commodity.
Your prospective client is right to make the assumption that you create little value. That is what you showed them by the actions you took in your approach to selling them.
Selling this way is tough now. The value that you create isn’t compelling, and it doesn’t answer the critical question your prospective client is dealing with which is, “Why must I change now?”
When you sell from Level 1, you ensure that you are not considered a peer. If you want to be a peer, you need to start from a position of greater value creation.
Being consultative requires that you forego any conversation about your product, its features and benefits, its price, or even the transaction whereby your prospective client buys what you sell. Instead, you start by understanding your prospective customer’s most strategic needs, by sharing your insights about the trends and factors that will impact their future, and by collaborating around ideas that may potentially be worth exploring (I call this Level 4).
Until you have a deep understanding, there is nothing about your product, service, or solution worth talking about. What you sell is only worth talking about and so far as it addresses your prospective client’s strategic needs. What you sell can and will help your dream client move from their current state to their future state, but how you get to that conversation matters a great deal.
It very much matters how you sell. It matters that you are an expert in your field with business acumen and situational knowledge (experience). It matters that you are a peer, and not a desperate, subservient, time waster. This means that you start with the highest level of value creating conversations and only get to what you sell when it is appropriate and relevant.
You still need chops.
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Filed under: Sales