November 9, 2010 by Bob Hill
Posted in: closing, communication, economy, Sales meeting ideas, Special Report - Sales & Marketing, training, Value
Prospects need answers to three specific questions before they’ll risk leaving an incumbent supplier.
1. What do you offer that other suppliers can’t?
When budgets are tight, one of the things that really causes buyers to stand up and take notice is when a company can demonstrate how and why it can provide a faster — and bigger — return on investment (ROI) than competitors.
While most salespeople come to the table prepared to discuss ROI, those who kick it up a notch — by demonstrating how they can help prospects see a substantial return on their investments — will gain an edge over competitors who aren’t as sympathetic to the fact that prospects are under the gun to find ways to generate more revenue, faster.
2. How can you minimize my risk of making a bad investment?
Buyers fear taking any risks these days. Companies can respond by offering short-term contracts or limited trials. It eases buyers into doing business without making them feel like they’ll be boxed into something they can’t get out of.
Companies can even ask, “What terms would you need us to meet in order to move the sale forward?”
Once salespeople know what the prospect’s priorities are, that info can be used to draw up preliminary paperwork, based on the prospect’s specifications. This way prospects can see — in writing — that their needs have been taken into account, while reinforcing the commitment to meet their expectations.
It moves the process into a stage where prospects can either agree that the terms are on-target or explain what needs to be adjusted before the sale can move forward. Either way, you’ve entered the final stages of negotiation.
3. Why should I trust you?
Today’s buyers want to be sure they’re making a wise investment before they’ll consider doing business. In most cases, that means the sales cycle becomes longer, as buyers want to make sure they can trust potential new suppliers — and that their needs are being heard.
Buyer testimonials are a great way to establish instant credibility. Posting testimonials on your website gives prospects instant access to an array of positive feedback from existing buyers — helping to build trust.
Then by the time your salespeople meet with prospects for the first time, they’ve already established a reputation for providing top-notch service and a considerable return on investment.
Source: “Selling in a Down Economy,” a podcast by Rocky LaGrone.