Published by : Louis G. Larochelle
Let me start by asking you a question: Are you just another sales rep?
Most salespeople today have a presentation-based approach. It's not necessarily their fault. Traditionally, companies tend to train salespeople on the products and/or services to be sold. The features, advantages, benefits, enhancements, etc. A salesperson can recite all of these by heart.
Sales representatives then develop bad reflexes, because they see that the added value they offer is inevitably linked to the product, when actually this is not true. The value you bring to the customer is a solution to their problems.
If you want to stand out, you must be able to differentiate your approach by putting the customer at the center of the conversation.
Why are you unable to differentiate yourself?
Here is a typical scenario: a salesperson gets in touch with his prospect and immediately goes into presentation mode. He can boast, for example, that his customer service is superior, that his product is the most technologically advanced, etc. The problem is that the competition uses exactly the same approach.
So, no one really differentiates themselves. Furthermore, your monologue may annoy the client, who has probably already done some research about your company and your services.
If this is your case, you are probably having difficulty obtaining confidential information from your potential clients, that is, the information associated with the real problems they are trying to solve and the consequences of the issue.
It's important to know that in most cases, potential customers will shop around and compare you with other suppliers, which is why it's important to stand out from the crowd.
How do you differentiate yourself in the eyes of prospects?
As a salesperson, you are the best person to differentiate yourself and it is by asking questions that you will be able to do so! It is your responsibility to understand the problems of the business and to find the decision-maker's motivation to solve them. Sometimes even the customer does not consciously recognize their true reasons for buying. That's why the information won't come to you, you'll have to dig for it.
This change of approach focuses on empathy. Being empathetic means being able to put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand their vision and concerns. In other words, the focus should be on the customer, not on your product!
Ultimately, you need to be able to build a relationship of trust with your prospect in order to get the information you need to move forward in the sales process.
Since the customer is not used to being approached in this way, this will be your greatest competitive advantage over your main competitors.
The right sequence
I divided this consultative approach into 3 simple steps to help you put it into practice:
1. Know your potential client, their problems, and challenges
When you know your ideal customer, you are able to start your conversations about prospecting with a positioning statement that is meaningful to the person you're talking to.
The 3 key elements of this statement are:
- Social recognition: you mention that you are constantly in contact with people who have the same role
- Emotion: you integrate an emotion that reflects the state of mind of the people you are talking to
- Experienced problems: you share 2 problems experienced by your potential customers
2. Take an interest in the potential client's problems
When you make your prospecting call, you need to be genuinely interested in the specific problems your prospect has experienced. Your goal is to gather relevant information as early as possible to give you a head start on the competition.
3. Ask a lot of questions
Now that you are finally face-to-face with your prospect, you need to ask them questions to validate your understanding of their issues and understand if your points of differentiation are valuable to them. Keep in mind that elite consultative salespeople question their prospects for a minimum of 45 minutes.
Even if you are confident that your product or service can solve all problems, only the customer knows why they need it. By putting customers at the heart of your conversations, you'll be able to differentiate yourself from simple salespeople who use the same speech over and over again and fail to progress through the sales cycle.
Cover photo credit: fr.freepik.com