Today with the explosion of technology, social networks, information availability, data abundance and myriad access points, effective sales needs to be more pull than push. Customers are more aware than ever before and do their research and information gathering before talking to a sales rep. As a result, the old way of selling on product features and benefits and focusing on “let me tell you how great our offering is” is counter-productive. We as sales professionals of today’s interconnected economy need to listen more and talk less- we need to focus not on our product/ service, but on the customer’s issues/challenges and pain points.
If we cannot answer the implicit question on the customer’s mind ” why should I speak to this salesperson and what’s in it for me” in the first 30 seconds of the call or meeting, we have lost the opportunity to add value to the engagement. Everything today is about value creation, value acceleration and value maintenance. We have to make the customer the center of our interaction and use effective questioning and listening skills to uncover the pain the customer is facing as a first step. Next, we have to help the customer quantify the pain and the cost of non-action- “What happens if you do nothing and continue with BAU (business as usual). Once we do that and make the customer realize the enormous impact of the pain on his/her business, they will want to do whatever it takes “to get rid of the pain”. After that stage in the sales cycle, we can speak about how our solution will help them reduce/eliminate the pain, they are facing. Our product/ service details and pricing should come much later in the sales cycle and only after we have taken the customer through the Pain Funnel.
Traditional salespeople were scared to hear “No”- the new paradigm is to allow the customer to say no- in fact, give every opportunity to the customer to say ” No” to your solution- employ the negative reverse technique- “This solution is too expensive for you- it appears that this is not a good fit for your needs and situation”. Let the client, tell you why in-spite of all your efforts to disqualify the sale, it makes sense for them- let the client give you their reasons, why they want to buy your solution, rather than you pushing the product for your own reasons.
Pull versus push in sales, as in marketing, is a very effective strategy.