May 23, 2011 by Bob Hill
Posted in: closing, communication, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, negotiating, Sales meeting ideas, training, Value
There’s a significant gap between what buyers want and what salespeople think they want.
How do top salespeople bridge that gap to connect with prospects and consistently build strong relationships?
Here are four ideas to consider:
- Know the prospect’s priorities beforehand. Asking good questions is a great way to understand a prospect’s needs. But doing extensive pre-call research gives salespeople a chance to get acquainted with the prospect’s corporate culture, what has driven past buying decisions and how his/her company does business. The more a salesperson knows up front, the more comfortable prospects feel discussing business with him/her. Pre-call research also allows salespeople a chance to ask targeted questions and confirm what they already know, while demonstrating to prospects they understand their needs.
- Create a buyer-centric timeline. Top salespeople work with prospects early on to establish a timeline that takes into account all the factors that will contribute to their buying decision. This way they have a better grasp on whether a prospect is stalling, or if there’s another reason for their not moving forward with the sale. Great salespeople use timelines to send a message that they want to work as a partner, putting the prospect’s needs before their own.
- Prioritize each prospect’s need. Some needs are more important to a prospect than others. The salesperson who creates a value proposition based on the prospect’s biggest hot button needs is often in a much better position to win the sale. The best salespeople create a hierarchy of needs based on what has motivated a prospect’s past buying decisions and where prospects see their company headed in the months to come. Salespeople use that hierarchy as a gauge for how to focus the presentation.
- Take personal responsibility. Just as most prospects like to make a connection with salespeople before agreeing to do business with them, they also want to be assured that the salesperson will work as a partner for the duration of their relationship. Top salespeople are proactive, following up at regular intervals in order to ensure they’re: aware of any potential problems before the prospect has to contact them, constantly on the prospect’s radar and building the type of relationship that leads to higher levels of loyalty and satisfaction.
Source: Achieve Sales Excellence, a book by Howard Stevens.