Written by Sean McPheat |
When you think of a salesperson, what immediately springs to mind?
Is it the old ‘snake-oil’ salesperson of old who put their foot in the door, or never stops talking, or puts undue pressure on you to ‘sign today’?
Hopefully, that age-old metaphor is long dead. But there are still people for whom the very notion of being ‘sold-to’ strikes the fear of God into them, and they would run away from such an encounter.
However, selling today is far different from those old days when the customer could only find out about a company’s products or services by being presented to by a slick salesperson, with a toothy grin and sharp intakes of breath!
Today’s salesmanship is identified by a professional approach, highly intelligent about their products, their market, their customers and their industry, and a keen desire to find out about their prospects’ business before presenting solutions.
So, how should you sell a product to a customer today?
One simple answer is ‘don’t try to sell’!
Yes, that seems contrary to everything we learned in sales, doesn’t it? Well, most salespeople still sell as if buyers were needing to know information. But most people will do a lot of research before contacting a salesperson to finalise their decision.
In fact, many surveys show that the buyer is more than 70% along the buying process before they contact a company. What does this mean for a salesperson? How should we sell our product today, to a well-researched and highly-knowledgeable prospect?
Here are some tips:
Instead of approaching a prospect with the thought of telling them everything they need to know about your product, see it as a ‘knowledge-extraction’ process.
You need to sell your products by not selling them first!
Imagine you’re a doctor. What would the doctor say to you when you went into his surgery? Would he just give you prescription straight away? No of course not. He would make enquiries as to what was wrong and ask you some deep questions to ascertain exactly which direction he should take the conversation.
See yourself as a doctor to your buyer being your patient. You need to ask a series of questions to determine the situation that your prospect is in. Only after you have gained information and built up some kind of knowledge concerning their situation can you officially say you are in a position to make some kind of recommendations.
You need to clarify your understanding so that the prospect appreciates you understand and have a clear picture of the situation that they are in. Only after you have done this have you earned the right to even contemplate what products or services might be right for their current situation current situation.
People don’t buy your products. Instead they will buy whatever will solve the current situation that they are in. So, when you present your solution, make sure that you are talking about the results that they will get rather than the features and benefits of your product.
Your prospect will only make a decision to go with you when they understand the short and long- term results that your product or service will bring to their business or themselves. By doing this you make it very clear to them how they will benefit from your products. Remember that the product itself is not as important as the short, medium and long-term results that they will achieve after using your product.
So, how do you sell a product to a customer today? By discussing their needs, gaining knowledge of their business, putting yourself in their position and proving that your products and services are going to provide a better future for them than anything else they currently experience.
This is a long way from the old ‘stack-them-high-ell-them-cheap’ salesman of yesterday. But those buyers who bought then aren’t around anymore. They have changed and so must you.
Want to learn additional sales techniques then check out our introduction to selling course.
Originally published: 12 March, 2019