kIn today’s business selling environment, change is a constant. That makes selling—like everything else—a moving target and consequently a tougher proposition than ever before. In fact, the 2018-2019 Sales Performance Report from CSO Insights showed that only slightly more than half of sales representatives (54.3%) are meeting or exceeding their quotas.
What can help sellers hit their sales targets? Improving their selling process by building relationships, focusing on two elements: perspective and, within it, the buyer’s valid business reason (VBR) for engaging with a seller.
The importance of perspective
In sales transactions, buyers—who are consumers first—are becoming accustomed to a world in which human interaction is less and less central to the sale. Buyers are more informed than ever, and know that they can walk into an Amazon Go and buy a sandwich without having to place an order, check out or in any way interact with a human. Online sales are even further removed from the relationships that used to drive purchasing. So why would buyers expect that they would need to engage with a salesperson on a business deal, much less build an ongoing relationship with that person?
Yet the fact is that relationships still drive sales—so you have to give buyers a reason to trust you and engage with you. This goes way beyond having a solid selling process and reliable product information. In short, you have to offer the buyer a knowledgeable perspective. But how?
Research has shown that buyers who build longer-term, more fruitful relationships with sellers expect several things from salespeople. One top expectation is that the seller shares insights and expertise, or perspective. Sellers who offer this proven perspective find themselves armed with a key differentiator from their competition.
How do you come by that perspective? Keep in mind that buyers want sellers who help them progress their buying process, change their vision and expand their expertise. That knowledge might take the form of market research that helps your customers change the way they’re thinking about a problem. It might be information that your prospects can take back to the office and share with their peers and managers. Or it might even be the kind of advice that helps your prospects become better at their job.
Whatever form it takes, a seller who’s established this perspective still needs to share it with potential buyers—which is where the VBR comes into play.
The VBR’s role in offering perspective
A VBR is your customer’s reason for agreeing to meet with you. Oftentimes, the VBR is not the same for each of the stakeholders that you meet with, which is why it is important to understand what a person’s VBR is before the meeting. An effective VBR shows that you’ve given thought to your customer’s unique challenges and that you have solutions that will help them resolve their pain points.
What does a VBR look like? Its name is instructive, but it has these key characteristics.
- It’s valid and compelling. It reflects a truth about your customer. In other words, it shows the customer what’s in it for them and explains why they should make time in their schedule to hear about your solutions to their problems.
- It’s strictly about business. It’s focused on your customer’s business and their individual challenges and goals.
- It’s about solutions. Your proposed solution should be specific to what your customer needs to avoid, fix or accomplish. The more accurate and detailed your solution, the more concise and to the point—and thus the more effective—your explanation of it will be.
Is your VBR on the mark?
To ensure your VBR will help you hit your sales targets, ask yourself the following five questions.
- Does your VBR impact this customer’s personal goals and business objectives?
- Does it explain why your call should be a high priority for the customer? Does it directly address their pain point?
- Does it explain what’s in it for your customer?
- Does it demonstrate your relatability to your customer? Avoid adopting an overly formal or academic tone—be yourself and speak naturally.
- Is your message concise and clear? Could you leave it as a voicemail or with an assistant without losing any essential meaning? If not, go back to the drawing board and shorten it.
Here’s an example of an effective VBR:
“We’ve had a lot of success in helping businesses like yours improve revenue—by up to 20 percent in some cases—by giving their salespeople more time to devote to selling. I’d love to meet you next week to see how we can do the same for you.”
Now it’s your turn to start building deeper relationships with your prospects based on perspective. It’s time to define your VBR.
Contact us and learn more about how Miller Heiman Group can help your organization.