For B2B buyers, every minute counts. That means they consider every minute they spend answering questions that sellers could have answered with a cursory internet search a waste of their time. As a seller, wasting a buyers’ time in this manner likely hurts your chances of winning a deal: as the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study reveals, customers have little tolerance for explaining their business to a seller. If you’re asking basic questions when the competition already performed their research, you will fall behind in the buyer’s eyes.
Meanwhile, sellers commitments take up more time as well, giving sellers less time to sell, much less devote time to research. As a result, too many sellers waste buyers’ time, asking preliminary questions to get up to speed.
1. Prepare in Advance
Before your next meeting or call, create a detailed plan of attack. Outline your agenda and your goals for the meeting. Ensure that you maintain a client-centric focus and brainstorm questions that will help you provide value.
Begin by articulating the single sales objective (SSO): the specific piece of business that you hope to secure. Your SSO should define the purpose for every call and meeting. When writing your SSO, make sure it meets these five criteria:
- The product or service you intend to sell
- An objective so clear and specific that anyone can understand it
- A measurable goal in terms of units or revenue
- A timeline for closing the deal
- A single goal rather than multiple components
Additionally, invest in background research for everyone attending the meeting—not just your customer. Sellers face an average of 6.4 buying influences per deal, spread across many roles in different departments. Each one brings unique interests and pain points, so it’s critical to learn as much as possible about all of these buying influences, including their decision-making style.
2. Align Buyer and Seller Objectives
Both you and your buyers have aspirations and goals for your partnership. But if those goals aren’t aligned as part of your enterprise sales strategy, you won’t be moving in the same direction, and you aren’t likely to help your buyer move further down the sales funnel. Align your objectives with your buyer’s needs to ensure that everyone is on the same page and driving toward win-win outcomes.
One way to start off on the right foot and give buyers a reason to spend time with you is to offer them a valid business reason. A valid business reason gives buyers the information they need to understand who you are and why you want to meet with them, and it also sets mutual expectations for the meeting. It also reinforces how the meeting will benefit the buyer.
3. Control and Run the Meeting
Before you walk into the meeting, you need a detailed meeting strategy. Miller Heiman Group’s iconic Green Sheet is an outstanding tool to use to organize your plan, enabling you to better engage buyers and find a solution that benefits both you and your customer.
You’ll also need to determine how to establish a dialogue that moves the deal forward. You need to ask good questions that help you understand the buyer’s situation, motivations and decision-making process. The Green Sheet helps you structure questions in a logical order that lead your customer through each phase of the buying journey.
4. Make the Most of Your Time
You don’t have a minute to waste, so choose your questions wisely. Use focused and specific questions to move opportunities forward. The more specific you are, the clearer it will be to the client that you’ve done your homework.
The types of questions you ask depend on the stage of the buyer’s path and which buying influences are present. Generally, plan to ask four types of questions:
- Confirming questions to validate data and highlight inaccuracies
- New information questions to improve your understanding of your buyer’s goal
- Attitude questions to learn how your buyer feels about how achieving the goal will affect them
- Commitment questions to determine where you are in the process and obtain the buyer’s agreement to move the deal forward
Asking good questions also reinforces your credibility. By asking insightful questions and listening more than you talk, you demonstrate your interest in your buyer’s needs instead of just pushing your solution.
5. Differentiate Your Solution
Conclude meetings with a clear differentiation of your solution that will move the deal to the next phase and show your buyer that your partnership is built on shared value.
Buyers make purchases in one of two ways: randomly selecting a solution or differentiating between solutions. Highlighting your unique strengths helps buyers see the distinctions between your solution and others.
A unique strength is more than a feature or benefit. To uncover a unique strength, start with the buyer’s goal and relate your solution to that goal. Your unique strength might relate to your knowledge, product or service, implementation, technology, training or something else entirely.
Bring Perspective to Your Meetings
Sales success requires a plan for customer interactions in your enterprise sales strategy. With Conceptual Selling with Perspective, you learn sales training techniques, including a repeatable structure for conversations, that gives you an edge in selling.
Start putting your perspective in play by following a sales effectiveness framework that ensures you offer value in every buyer conversation: sign up for Conceptual Selling with Perspective today.