Sales professionals frequently talk about “selling value,” but few know how to focus the conversation on issues that impact value for the buyer. That’s unfortunate because the best way to offset pricing pressure is by identifying, quantifying, and presenting value. Selling value begins with a deep understanding of your customer’s business and how your solution positively impacts it. This can be hard work, but it’s worth it. The creativity and effort you put into analyzing your customer’s business prepare you for the next step: quantifying the tangible and intangible benefits your solution will bring.
Most salespeople ask fact-based questions during their sales calls. These are questions designed to uncover factual information about a buyer’s current situation, organization, and business direction. These questions yield purely objective information and set the groundwork for asking questions to uncover problems. Unfortunately, from the buyer’s perspective, fact questions have the lowest value. Why?
Sometimes we have problems, but we don’t do anything about them. Other times our problems are so urgent we take immediate action. Consider, for example, a slow dripping faucet versus a flooded basement. For sales professionals, however, the reality is almost never so extreme. In most cases, assuming you are meeting with a qualified buyer and ask enough questions, you can help the buyer identify a problem.
Sales people rarely have enough time in the day to manage all of the activities expected of them. Whether it’s making prospecting calls, going on sales calls, creating proposals, or manage existing accounts, sales people are busy. But being busy doesn’t necessarily translate into better sales results. The difference between high performing salespeople and average performers often comes down to basic time management skills. High performing salespeople are able to consistently allocate the majority of their time to the most promising sales opportunities, while average performers invest too much time in bad opportunities.
Being a sales professional in today’s internet-savvy, procurement-driven, cost-conscious environment is extremely challenging. Research suggests that buyers are more informed and typically are well through their own purchase process before you even connect with them. So what can a sales professional do in order to be relevant to buyers? Simple, ask high-impact questions to focus the sales conversation on issues that have value for the buyer.
The stalled sale is one of the most frustrating experiences for a sales professional particularly when the sales person feels like the customer has a real need and their solution directly addresses the customer’s need. The problem is that many needs are not compelling and, as a result, the customer lacks urgency.