What It Takes to Be the Customer's First Choice
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To get exceptional results in sales, you must gain an understanding of people, what they want and not only build trust, but also certainty with them. Old school selling was simply based on understanding the customer's needs and building trust to close the deal. Today with information available everywhere, your buyer seeks third party sources to give them the certainty of what to purchase and how much to pay.
Once a buyer has done their research, they still always buy products and services for one reason: to solve a problem. They need to be certain. No one makes a buying decision when they are uncertain. When a buyer is uncertain they stall the process.
A salesperson's goal then is to determine that you have the right product or service to actually solve the buyer's biggest problem. To do this, you have to get the buyer to trust you enough to talk to you about what they want to accomplish. You must show genuine interest with intention to serve the buyer and not just sell them. Salespeople often get lost in "selling" their product or service. This is a mistake and a waste of everyone's time.
Building trust is key to discovering and understanding your buyers’ motives. It requires knowing every step of your sales process and sharing it with the buyer. Start by introducing yourself with confidence, then explain your exact intentions, process and amount of time it will take. Lay out your plan clearly so buyers see your priority is to take care of them. Here's an example:
Thanks for coming to see me today. My intention is to help you by:
- Figuring out the problem you are trying to solve.
- Suggesting the best solution for you.
- Providing you with pricing alternatives.
- Making you confident about that solution.
At this point they may tell you, "We aren't even the decision makers and are only accumulating information at this time." Great! You learned this right upfront when most salespeople would not for weeks or months.
When providing the solution and pricing of a product or service, you must provide third-party data, other success stories and support material as to why that solution is best. Proof combined with a clear step-by-step plan moments after your greeting builds certainty and puts you in a different league of sales professionals.
I once had a customer who was unready to buy. I told him, "No problem. I would just like to get you the information you need so that you can shop others. Then, when you are ready, I know you'll consider me." This creates a high degree of trust because I had nothing to hide and I was more than willing to provide information knowing the customer wasn't ready to purchase that day.
When showing your price, always show how it compares to others. Salespeople who don't do this lose deals. I once had a customer I knew was going to look at two lower priced competitors. I told the buyer, "you can go to the new company and save yourself $50 a month or $600 a year. You can go to the other one and save another $20." Then I showed them (not told them) actual things my product and company can do for them that the competition was unable to do.
Most salespeople wait for the customer to ask for the price after their presentation in order to build value. It is important to offer pricing before the buyer asks for it. Share it upfront and then show why the investment costs what it cost. This approach shows confidence, keeps the salesperson on the offensive and prevents unnecessary negotiating.
I was recently doing a presentation to a large group in Indiana. Once we identified their needs, I told them I had the solution but wanted to share the pricing first so they could make sense of the investment while I presented my solution. The top executive of the group said, "We usually have to sit through hours of presentation and then get the price." I separated myself from every other competitor in the marketplace and gave the buyer a great level of certainty with my company and our solution.
Building certainty with customers is an art. Exceptional salespeople strive to master this skill and reap the rewards it brings. Remember: your intention is to serve customers.