June 14, 2010 by Bob Hill
Posted in: closing, communication, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, negotiating, Value
Competition is tight, budgets are tighter. In order for salespeople to maintain their edge, they need to differentiate what they personally bring to the table.
Today’s prospects have more choices than ever before. The result: a buyer’s market where salespeople are often chosen not so much for their products and services, but the added value they offer in terms of helping the prospects’ businesses prosper.
These four strategies will help you earn prospects’ trust and ultimately win their business:
- Empower prospects by relinquishing a certain amount of control. Make prospects feel as if they have some degree of control over the buying process by partnering with them to create a timeline for the sale. Probe to determine how their buying process works, who the other key decision makers in the process are and what you can do to make the process easier for them. It gives prospects the impression they’re in the driver’s seat, while placing you in a stronger position to close more sales.
- Determine who else could be impacted by the buying decision. In many cases, several departments can benefit from doing business with a salesperson’s company. The key is to determine who else at the prospect’s company stands to benefit from your products/services — and leveraging those contacts to gain as many internal champions as possible. Establish relationships with several different contacts, asking questions to ascertain what the company values most when considering a purchase. In cases where major purchases need to be approved by a board or committee, having several high-level execs in your corner will help you gain a consensus.
- Develop your own competitive analysis. With prospects having so much access to competitive offers, it’s reasonable to assume they’ve already gone online and done their own pricing and comparisons. With that in mind, some salespeople develop their own competitive analysis that breaks down all the other offers out there based on price, value and several other key areas that matter most to prospects. Developing your own analysis not only allows you to anticipate (and possibly avoid) objections, it also gives you some insight into where current suppliers may be coming up short. On top of which, presenting prospects with your own analysis may keep them from shopping online, and it spotlights all the areas where you offer superior value for their investment.
- Become an expert in the field. Join professional organizations, social networking groups, online clubs and other members-only organizations related to your industry. Rather than simply attending tradeshows, offer to be a presenter. Maintain an industry blog. Submit articles to industry publications or journals. All of these things provide more visibility, while giving prospects an impression they’re dealing with an expert in the field who understands the ins and outs of the industry and can therefore provide viable solutions for their businesses.
Source: “SNAP Selling,” by Jill Konrath