Written by Sean McPheat |
One of my team has been running a successful sales programme for a large international client and, during one of our recent meetings; he mentioned how the client’s sales teams have been intrigued by our perspective on selling in the 21st century.
Many sales programmes put the emphasis on the sales process and how we should present solutions based on our products and services. This is commonly known as the ‘push’ method of selling; that is, the product or service is the main subject of conversation and the salesperson’s job is to push these onto the decision-maker, highlighting features and benefits of the products so they can see why they should buy.
Most buyers tell us this act alone is enough for objectives to come up or value to be questioned. Why? Because the brain’s natural inclination when put under any kind of pressure is to resist or fight back. A ‘push’ style of selling will always induce a form of pressure or stress, because every buyer we have come across doesn’t want to be sold to….but they do want to be given the opportunity to buy.
My trainer told me how he has been discussing our new, quantifiable method called ‘180 selling’. The 180 refers to the degrees difference between our perspective as a salesperson and the perspective of the buyer. By turning your attention around 180 degrees, you see things from a completely different angle.
As an example, most sales people will approach a prospect with questions in their mind like “How can I sell this product or service into their business? How will my product help their business? What benefits can I highlight that will impress them?”
These are normal questions that many sales people have been asking for years. But the ‘180 selling’ process looks form the angle of the prospect. The salesperson asks questions like “What position is this business currently in? What market are they operating in? What solutions would be best for their business right now?”
These questions ask you to think about the prospect’s business, not your product. The focus becomes one of building trust with the prospect because of the nature of your interests, by concentrating on their situation.
For example, if you sell photocopiers, rather than concentrating on how your machine copies 15% quicker than their current model (a feature), think what benefits their business would achieve with your new model.
Saying something like “You said that you currently make between 1000 and 1500 copies per day, and it takes between two and two-and-a-half hours to complete. How valuable would it be to the business if you could save 15% of your photocopying time (that’s about 25 minutes per day) each and every day?” would show you’re thinking of their business rather than your wiz-bang machine.
The buyer is now contemplating how that time saving could allow them to invest in other more valuable activities. It’s making them think of their business benefits, rather than having to work out why they should go for a particular product simply because it’s quicker than what they currently have. Saying your machine churns out copies 15% quicker doesn’t link to their business needs or benefits. Asking how they would improve their time efficiencies, and what their business could do with those savings, does.
So when you are planning or preparing for your next visit, think of ‘180 selling’. Think about how you could position whatever it is you sell from the perspective of the business that will be using it in the future. Identify the benefits in the long term. In our example above, the business could save 500 minutes per working month. That’s over 8 hours, or a whole working day. With that time saving they could employ someone much more efficiently and effectively. They just need to see it from a different perspective.
Originally published: 30 October, 2014