Written by Sean McPheat |
It’s fascinating to see the changes that are going on in the world of selling. If you Google books on the subject, the plethora of ideas and techniques could leave you reeling in its complexity.
If we try to apply all the new ideas that are available on how to sell, and listen to all the ‘gurus’ who claim to have the golden ticket to making the next sale, we would spend 24/7 just updating our knowledge; and be more confused than ever as we progress!
However, there’s one key question the customer wants answering that hasn’t really changed over the years. If we know that question and are able to prepare specific answers for it, it will give us a big head-start as we attempt to progress the sale.
We’ve said so very often that the customer doesn’t really care about what you’re selling. They only care about how your solution will aid themselves or their business. So the question most customers will subliminally be asking all through the buying process is, “Why should I choose your solution?”
Most salespeople will immediately start with something like, “Well, our company is the leading provider of electronic widgets in this industry, so that makes us a safe and reliable choice for you”. Or “We can make you more efficient and save you money by using our latest software”.
This doesn’t help the customer at all because there are no quantifiable numbers or money associated with what you are stating. If you were to prove that your solution would be best for them, their company or them as an individual, then there would be a mindset shift towards thinking about how you can improve their future performance.
How’s the best way to do this? Well, if you can prove what you say by recalling success stories with other clients, it gives this current prospect or customer a chance to see how it could apply to them. It gives them a SIGNAL as to why they should choose you.
In this case, SIGNAL is an acronym standing for Situation, Issue, Give reason, Need, Answer, Legacy.
Here’s an example of what I’m referring to:
When a customer asks why they should choose you, talk about how another similar company, or one in a similar industry, benefitted from using you and what the results were. It could go something like this: (Let’s say you’re talking to the Chief Buyer)
Situation: One example that might be of interest to you is the Chief Buyer of a manufacturer in a similar industry
Issue: They were facing big challenges because their current customers weren’t renewal their contracts after the first round of purchases
Give Reason: This was because the processes they needed to go through were long and cumbersome, tying up time and effort by the salespeople, so making it difficult for them to develop new business
Need: What they needed was a way to streamline the order process so they could re-order simply and easily on-line without having to go through all the effort of re-inputting all their details and the details of what they wanted
Answer: We installed a new software package that made it easy for customers to re-order with just two or three clicks
Legacy: They now have over 70% of their customers reordering on-line and their orders have increased by an average of 28%. Their salespeople now spend more time looking for new business, and in the last six months have brought in 18% more revenue.
You will see how these six steps, SIGNAL, help you to build good reasons for the prospect to think about how that could apply to them also. Of course, your success story will have to relevant to the specific problems your prospect is facing, so you won’t go into these details until you’ve found out all you need to know about their business needs. Also, the examples have to be real. Imaging if you made something up and then the customer said “Really? Put me in touch with this chief buyer and if your story stacks up, I’ll go with you!”
Use these six steps to describe how successful your customers have been in using your services, and see how much more impactful they are than just regurgitating product details!
Originally published: 22 July, 2014