Creating positive buyer conversations is the heart of selling. The best way to have positive conversations is to build receptivity with buyers. And the most critical aspect to creating receptivity is to focus totally on the buyer, their business issues, and value drivers.
What does a customer expect from a salesperson today? They want our #1 mission to help them solve the challenges that hinder them from accomplishing their objectives. And they want our #1 role to provide them with insights or actions they value and cannot get easily themselves.
Buyers Are Motivated To Gain Relevant Insights!
Customers remain very receptive to speak with salespeople today – IF the person delivers value.
One noteworthy study from SalesFuel, March 2021, found that decision-makers will share their contact information with a seller IF they can get access to “insights on the use of products or services that will solve my business problem.” Think about that for a moment. It’s one of the most consequential selling tests today: Can you deliver insights on your products/services related to their business issue and how you would solve it? Buyers want valuable insights, not standardized messaging like a pitch or a slide deck presentation.
Something else from that study provides a clue to create even more receptivity with your buyers:
Q: What do you hope to accomplish on a first sales call with a salesperson:
#1 discuss my goals.
#2 learn about my cost.
#3 clarify product use and benefits.
First, notice that buyers were not interested in the salesperson’s goals or needs? Zilch. Nada. No one said, “I’d like to hear the salesman’s pitch?” or “I want to listen to a slide presentation.” Buyers focus on themselves and their situation, not on you or your excellent product offering.
It’s worth pointing out, based on customer feedback, just how important it is to engage the buyer with questions and then listen accurately.
Buyers Appreciate a Salesperson Who Will Talk Less, Ask Intelligent Questions and Listen!
More sales are lost from not asking the right question than not saying the right thing. There is a better way to prevent lost sales. Don’t talk about your products or services but ask questions around a framework of the buyer’s needs, wants, problems, challenges or opportunities.
When the prospect voices a problem or challenge, don’t be quick to pitch a solution. Keep asking questions that dig deeper, clarify things, and uncover the impact on their operation. Even if an opportunity to sell drops right into your lap, such as, “Tell me about your product,” respond with an incredibly brief answer, then immediately transition to asking questions.
Listening costs nothing and yet it’s the most effective part of a sales call. By listening, you show interest and a sincere desire to understand the issue your prospective buyer faces. But we get distracted. We engage in selective listening, and our minds wander and desire to act on what we want to hear rather than on what is accurate.
One of the most cited psychology research pieces, as referenced in Chris Voss’s book, “Never Split The Difference,” indicates that we can only process about seven pieces of information at any given moment. In selling, this is challenging because you can have more than one buyer contributing thoughts. As the dialogue flows, we might think about what to say or ask next regarding our customer’s issues, or we may think about the buyers’ previous answers and mind map our response or consider what our follow-up should include. Our mind is multitasking continuously.
We are easily overwhelmed with information, making it virtually impossible during a deep sales conversation to spontaneously come up with the right question at the right time, every time. And if we do not invest sufficient time in a pre-call game plan, including drafting some questions to ask and insights to pass along, it makes it challenging to build receptivity impulsively with our buyer.
Buyers Appreciate Engaging Questions
Asking engaging questions is the primary means for creating receptivity and tailor-fitting communications to your customer’s situation.
Foremost in your mind should be “what questions will I ask to glean the information needed to tailor a cogent value proposition for the buyer’s challenge?”
Investing sufficient time in well-planned questions in advance of the call is vital for your discovery. To win complex sales today, you must “do the things you loathe to get the results you love.” You can’t consistently listen with comprehension to your customer talk and comprise penetrating questions on the fly; it requires adequate preparation.
Creating receptivity from your initial contact to the close requires a strong focus on the buyer, asking valued questions, and sharing valued insights. It’s all made possible through thoughtful pre-call planning. Efforts pay off by winning more deals.