Written by Sean McPheat |
If you search on Amazon for books on selling, the list goes on for ever. The advice out there is profound, in its complexity and number, and much of it is relevant only in certain cases or when you are working in certain conditions.
Salespeople in general are always looking for how to improve their results, whether this be in productivity or in profitability. There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes, so much of what you will read and digest will have to be personalised by yourself to acquire the best information and application of that data.
One facet of sales that always intrigues our delegates on our courses revolves around the processes of differentiation in selling products and services. They know that one size doesn’t fit all cases, and their ability to personalise the approach is paramount when they are working with prospects and customers alike. The differentiation we will discuss here will help you ascertain which approach would be best for you to master.
Fortunately, we can narrow this process down to three components, and if you choose the right one, you can improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome.
The approach you choose can be determined by how badly your prospect is in need of your solution. We will call these approaches level 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1. This is where your prospect actually has expressed a desire for the solution you have to offer. You might call this the easiest sale you could make, as they have already said they need a solution like you are offering. Here, you INFLUENCE the decision-making process. By influencing, you assist the prospect to come up with the right decision for them or their business. Think of it as guiding them on the right path.
The statement might sound something like,
“By making this choice, you’ll start to see savings pretty soon, as your production will increase and your costs will go down. It really makes sense to do this as soon as possible, and I recommend we install within the next week so you can take advantage of those potential savings”
The Level 1 approach is the softest of the three, where the client is amicable and you have built desire for the results they would obtain with the solution.
Level 2. This is where the prospect has yet to make up their mind, is unsure on which way to go or has expressed doubt as to which solution would be best. Here, you can use your PERSUASION skills to help them come to a conclusion. You persuade them by helping them choose from a series of options that would help them achieve their goals. Options enhance the brains ability to choose. Not too many, of course. The optimum number is three.
It could sound something like this;
“OK, Mr Prospect, we have seen that you need to increase productivity and decrease costs. I have some alternatives for you. Firstly, the XY123 will help you reduce costs in the short-term. It’s the best choice for quick results. Another choice may be the same model with the additional capacity. The results will be longer term and you’ll get increased savings with the bulk-buying of materials. Finally, there’s the larger model, DC342, which offers all the benefits of the other model but with greater load capacity, so you spend less time reloading and re-ordering supplies.
My recommendation would be to take the larger model on our easy-pay contract, enabling you to build those savings quickly and efficiently. Do you see it the same way?”
This persuasive technique shows the prospect what the benefits are while pointing them in the right direction for their business. You persuade by highlighting the results and helping them come to the right conclusion.
Level 3. This would be where the situation has become sluggish or the process is stuck in a rut. It’s risky and can be seen as manipulative, so has to be used sparingly and with tact. It’s called FORCING THE ISSUE, and requires you to outline the pains of not making the decision and the gains of actually doing so.
It could sound something like,
“OK, Mr Prospect, we’ve looked at the alternatives and discussed what would work. I recommend we go with the DC342 because it will achieve everything you said you wanted. It will show immediate savings and, with the improved discounts I can give you on the materials, will improve your productivity as well as long-term savings. The sooner you install, the quicker those savings will show up on your bottom line. I can assure you it’s the best choice for your business. in the short-run and for long-term results.”
See…it’s risky because you’re forcing them to make a decision. But you’re also showing them the benefits of that decision. This takes a high degree of confidence and belief in your ability to give advice and you also need to have the trust of the prospect. When it works, though, they will thank you, because you are getting them out of the rut of indecisiveness.
So, those are the three levels of sales that you can work at. Try them when you next have to present solutions to prospects and see how you get on.
Originally published: 1 April, 2014