So, what's the bottom-line reason that traditional sales tactics are inefficient and ineffective?
Well, you probably know the answer: Salespeople spend more time telling and selling than listening.
Push it out the door. It's the do whatever it takes attitude. The salesperson has a good story to tell, and will push to overcome objections until the deal is done. Yet many sellers seldom delve deeply enough to uncover the prospect’s true motivation for doing business, especially from the buyer’s perspective.
Customers buy for their reasons, not yours. How many times have you heard that? Once you know their motives you’re more than halfway there.
The real key is: why is the customer buying? The art of the sale is in developing the-desire-to-acquire-in-your-buyer! People buy emotionally, then rationally justify their decisions. If you continue pushing features and benefits and then price pressure, customers become resistant to whatever your pitch is. In the end, everyone is upset. How to do it? Ask open-ended questions such as what is their purpose for using your product. By being naturally curious about their problems you can then match up the benefits of your product or service. Instead of trying to sell it, just be inquisitive. Most of us start off with our pitch and keep talking.
Don’t you love the sound of your voice? Do everyone a favor and like the customer’s voice better.
Here are some simple questions:
- How long has this been a problem?
- What have you done so far?
- When did the problem first happen?
- What is important for you to do right now?
Instead of being a salesperson, position yourself as the customer's problem solver or trusted advisor. The customer will act on your advice if it will solve an important problem. The customer is buying you and your understanding of his problem before they buy your product. Nick Murray, the famous financial sales coach, says it best: “People don’t care to know, until they know you care.”
Stopping pain problems are much stronger motivators than gain-problems. Most sales messages are geared towards what a customer has to gain in the transaction, and are met with skepticism because the customer is afraid that she might be disappointed in the promised future result. Whereas, pain-problems demand immediate satisfaction, otherwise if nothing is done the pain will continue to get worse. No pain—no sale. Of course you have to know your product's features and benefits as well as what your competitor has to offer. You're wasting your time if you don’t develop the skill to uncover your customer’s problem and then position yourself as the problem-solver.
Spend less time selling and more time listening for the customer’s problem. The problem may take time to understand — some problems are complex. Usually it takes longer to determine the problem than it does to fix it.
Customers don’t always understand their own problems. I remember my own experience buying my first computer. I bought my first computer in 1990. Prior to my computer I had a word processor but I was aware there was something better. I needed a large document formatted and ready for printing and watched while my friend did it on his computer. I was amazed! I couldn’t believe he kept deleting, retyping, saving and doing all these amazing things. I didn’t know how to use the computer I just knew I wanted one.
When I went to make the purchase, instead of the salesperson asking me how I was going to use the computer he just kept selling me features and benefits and I just kept getting more confused. Finally, I told him what I wanted the computer for and he explained how it would get done and what type of computer I needed. That was the end, problem solved and I owned my first computer.
Next step, get it home and look at it for a month until I had the nerve to learn how to use the mouse. Little by little and with some good training I learned how to use my computer. Had I listened to all jabber about speed and memory, I would still be without a computer.
Listen before you deliver so you don’t talk yourself out of a sale!