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BUILDING Partnerships 5.1 FROM SALESPERSON TO BUYING FACILITATOR: THOUGHTS OF A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL As a professional salesperson, it should always be your objective to create a great buying experience. This can happen through a multitude of ways, but having a servant's mindset and showing empathy will be at the foundation of all of them. The servant's mindset says, "I am literally here with no agenda other than to help this person. If helping means facilitating the purchase of my product or my competitors, that's what I will do. If I do right by this person, I am 1000x more likely to do business with them in the future." This must be authentic, or it will all fall apart. This leads to the importance of empathy, which is a key determinant to your likability. Never forget that people buy from people whom they like and trust. Make sure you understand your buyer's internal narratives, worldviews, and culture. Another challenge for salespeople is around need definition, and what priority is that need. If a need is not defined—in other words your "who is it for" target segment doesn't know they have the need—your marketing and education spend is likely to 2 to 10 times normal, depending on the complexity of the need. A great exam- ple of this is the challenge of selling air quality products. People should care about air quality like they care about the drinking water, but because they can't see, smell, or feel the air, they assume it's most likely healthy. As such, a buyer's need for an air quality monitor is undefined, and convincing a buyer to put a value on one is going to be a tough sell. Universities that teach selling should create a culture of buying facilitators instead of just training students to be traditional salespeople. Selling students must be reminded that a sales transaction is a two-way street. Here is a funnel for "buying facilitation" and you should be able to wrap the answers to the four questions below into a story about how a customer just like the one you're about to talk to solved their problems with your product or service. First, how do you know the customer wants the product? (why should they really care, emotionally) Second, does the customer even have a use for the product? (it's usually not IF, it's how many uses do they have if you peek below the fold?) Third, will they even use it if I sell it to them? (why should they really care; quantify and bring "logic") Fourth, what is their cost of change? That is, changing from what they use today, to your solution? Identify the value streams early. Whether it be safety, direct cost savings, or increased productivity, keep in mind that not all customers will have the same degree of needs. This is where trying to understand more about the person that is the buyer and how they integrate into the greater tribe probably gives insight into what other "conflicting priorities" may get in the way of yours. Ask the customer to help you understand their process. This is the single friendliest sales phrase in the his- tory of sales phrases, but it must be authentic. Find out why they do the things they do. It is very likely that your potential buyer is the person that bought the current product or solution you hope to replace and there is almost a guaranteed attachment and "belief" that this was (and still is) the right decision. So, headwinds are almost inevitable. Peel back the layers to help facilitate their needs even further. Note: trust is key here—you'll know if you haven't achieved trust yet if you get answers from the buyer that you know aren't true. This isn't them lying; this is them telling you that they're still skeptical about you and/or your offering. Andy Boyd, Sales and Marketing Manager, 3M. Used with permission. Each of the presentation types just discussed involves a different level of skill, cost, and flexibility. Standard memorized presentations can be delivered at low cost by unskilled salespeople with little training. On the other hand, the cus- tomized presentation can be costly, requiring highly skilled people to analyze the customer's needs. Salespeople have the greatest opportunity to adapt their presentations to customer needs when using the customized presentation and the least opportunity when using the standard memorized presentation. The next section discusses the importance of adapting sales presentations. CHAPTER 5: Adaptive Selling for Relationship Building 127

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