Last week I shared 6 mantras to keep your selling muscles in good shape. As promised, here are 6 more ways to strengthen your process and increase your performance.
- I will remember that my opinions don’t matter. What you think or believe doesn’t matter; what matters is what your prospect thinks and believes (crafted and molded with your help, of course). So be factual, make your case, prove your points and unless they’re asked for, keep your opinions to yourself.
- I will lead the development of cost-benefit analysis. Most deals of more $7,500 require a cost-benefit analysis. Help your client develop one. Otherwise they will inflate the cost of buying what you sell and undervalue the benefits they can generate.
- I will always negotiate. From the start, remember that selling is negotiating. Quid pro quo is the operative phrase. When a prospect asks for something (e.g. a quote or a brochure) first get something from them (e.g. information or access to others) before obliging.
- (And speaking of negotiation,) I will always prepare for it. Negotiation is a science and, at times, an art, but is always a practice you must prepare for by:
- Knowing what to ask for before you give anything
- Knowing when to start a pricing negotiation
- Understanding the value you are bringing to your client
- Stopping to drip (like a shower rag after use) when asked to make more concessions
- Starting a price negotiation only after you have confirmed that you are the chosen vendor
- Only after this kind of preparation will you be able to improve the effectiveness of your negotiation, reduce the discount you give away, and protect your company’s margins.
5. I will share success stories. Facts tell, stories sell. To initiate a business conversation, create interest or engage an audience, there is nothing better than sharing a story. How has a previous client achieved success after implementing your product or service? How did an unlikely client wind up benefiting from your expertise? Practice telling these stories so that they’re always on the tip of your tongue.
6. I will challenge the thoughts of the buyer more than ever before. Don’t settle for no – work with your customer to help them realize why they need your product, and how it can help them.
In conclusion, solution selling, discovery diagnose prescribe selling, and all the other methods and processes made public for the past twenty years are in most cases still valid and important – but not sufficient any longer on their own.
With prospects now completing their requirements definition and doing their homework searching for solutions and some vendor due diligences— without ever talking to a sales executive— it has become necessary by the seller to challenge the thoughts (and current results of those thoughts) of the buyer more than ever before.
You may not get all of this right every time. Remember that my 6th mantra in the last post, “I will be patient”, should be applied to your own process, too. Try focusing on one mantra per day, week, or month, and you’ll slowly see results.