Many years ago as a sales person I can remember the struggle of convincing a client that my product was a good fit for their need. After some year’s of experience I learned that until a client felt that there was some pain that needed to be addressed they were not going to buy.
They might have already identified that they had an issue and were out actively looking for a solution; OR in more rare cases, they had not yet identified a pain, but a sales person might convince them that their product or service was going to bring such value that the client could not afford to miss out. Either way a NEED is identified.
Today I run my own business, and am often on the buying end of that equation as opposed to the sales person. Experience on the buying side certainly changes your perspective, giving you clarity into some sales situations that might have left me scratching my head some years ago.
The common question I would ask myself might be, if my product/service is clearly a great fit for this potential customer why are they not interested?
Here are some potential answers:
1. Budget timing … if your approach does not align well with a company’s budget cycle you might well be ignored.
2. Priorities … if a company is focused on other priorities then they are not going to change those priorities easily, if at all!
3. Perspective … you may think (rightly or wrongly) that the client has a point of pain that needs to be addressed. if the client does not agree, then you are not going to get a sale.
4. Approach… buyers tend to feel that they want to make their own decisions. Good salespeople will work with them, understand their issues, jointly identify any areas of pain and cooperatively reach a conclusion that perhaps their product/service is worth a closer look. SOME sales people are prone to TELL the client they have a problem and TELL the client what the answer is … that doesn’t work very well.
5. The unknown factor … the buyer might have a bad association with you or your company; they might have a good association with one of your competitors; there might be politics at play; you might be talking to the wrong person!
The sales role is a consultative one … that does NOT mean you need to be a consultant offering all of the answers. It DOES mean you need to do a lot more LISTENING than TALKING; it means you need to FIND your client’s pain; it means your client needs to understand they have pain; and it means demonstrating that you have an answer to that pain. No rocket science … but also rare enough in sales people that it is worth re-learning this lesson regularly!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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