Here is the beauty of the new artform of selling though. When it’s done right, selling doesn’t even feel like selling. It’s more like a consultation from a trusted advisor than selling.
Here are our six keys to take a more consultative approach to selling:
1) Investigate: Every lead that’s generated needs to be fully researched. Things like company size, services offered, leadership, culture, mission, etc. Even if a new lead calls you, start researching them while they are on the phone. You can start learning their language immediately. And while reaching your prospects has never been more difficult, the ability to research them has never been easier. The investigation phase will help with the five keys following.
2) Inquire: The more information you get, the more you can help, add value, differentiate yourself from your competition and close sales. Questions are by far the most important sales tool and sadly the least used. Ask open ended questions that begin with words like what, how, why, where, when and who. Think about this, you need to get them talking about their favorite subject, their own company. It’s like asking people about their kids. They love to tell you about them. In the B2B world their business is their kid. Try to avoid yes or no questions. One of the biggest mistakes a salesperson makes is to assume something about the buyer and you know what happens when you ASS-U-ME! Asking questions minimizes the perils of assuming.
3) Tune In: Once you ask, shut your mouth and listen! Don’t think about what your next question will be or how-to rebuttal them. Instead, repeat back what they buyer has said. We call this “feeding it back” or paraphrasing. This will make the buyer feel understood and will force you to focus on what the buyer is really saying. Strive to do only 25% of the talking. This may feel awkward at first, but you’ll be amazed at how well it works. Great sales people help customers talk themselves into a sale by asking great questions.
4) Educate: As we mentioned early, teaching is the new pitching. While actively listening to the buyer, look for teaching opportunities that can help educate them. You want to help the buyer discover that what they really want and need. When a customer learns something new that will help them, it helps build preference and loyalty between the seller and buyer. When teaching, avoid talking too much about your own product or services. Stay solution focused.
5) Qualify: “ABC! Always be closing!” was a mantra from the old days of selling. You know that Boiler Room highlight reel. If you’re still using that approach with your people you need to stop. The new and improved version should be “ABQ! Always be QUALIFYING.” This tells you what your next steps should be. When qualifying, follow something like the BANT approaches:
- Budget — Are there financial means for a solution to their problem?
- Authority — Determine the real decision maker. How is righting the check?
- Need — Is there a specific pain point the buyer has that you can solve?
- Timeline — What is the specific time frame for when the prospect needs your solution?
Note: Most failed sales opportunities don’t have good answers for BANT.
6) Close: If you’ve done the first five steps correctly, they close themselves verses you having to arm-wrestle them into it. The buyer will feel comfortable and will know what they need to do next and have fewer questions and less buyer’s remorse.
Artist Paints Sale
B2B sales is a real art, and it takes an artist to do it. That’s why so many struggle. They may have the artist but not artistic resources. OR, they may have the resources, the canvas, the brushes, the paint but no artist. The companies who are really great at B2B sales are worth their weight in gold and if it’s not “what you do” you should heavily consider outsourcing it to someone who does. If you are an amazing interior decorator you wouldn’t try to paint the pictures you are hanging in your client’s home to save money. You would hire a real artist or buy the artwork from a pro. B2B sales is no different. Buyers love to buy, but they don’t like being sold to. They do, however appreciate being helped by a trusted advisor. If the right questions are asked, active listening takes place, and qualifying is conducted a consultative approach blooms and more sales close.
For more information on how Leading Edge Connections B2B sales teams can elevate your company’s revenue with a ROI email firstname.lastname@example.org