In a crowded, competitive market, it’s harder than ever to get an opportunity to woo a potential buyer. That’s largely because buyers no longer view sellers as a valuable resource to consult when making buying decisions.
Buyers that participated in the CSO Insights 2018 Buyer Preferences Study ranked salespeople next to last in a list of preferred resources for solving business problems—behind websites, industry publications, peers and several other sources of information.
When a sales organization gets a chance to interact with a buyer, they must effectively plan for it to build their credibility and demonstrate that they’re more valuable than the buyer previously recognized. Every meeting is a critical opportunity to open the door to future interaction, strengthen the buyer-seller relationship and move a deal forward.
To maximize these opportunities, sales organizations need to establish their credibility with perspective. Sharing perspective with a buyer provides them with insights, education and new knowledge that helps them see their problems in a different light and achieve their business goals.
Provide Value That Encourages Buyers to Engage
Today’s buyers favor a self-service model. Instead of relying on sellers to provide information, 70% of buyers use search engines or other tools at their disposal to take initial steps toward solving business problems and identify their needs. Only after exhausting these resources might they engage a buyer.
This self-reliance makes it harder than ever to land a meeting, or even schedule a phone call, with a buyer. To break through buyer resistance, sellers must offer buyers a valid business reason to engage; in other words, sellers must give buyers a reason to spend time with them. A valid business reason shows the buyer that the seller has invested time in considering their challenges and can provide solutions designed to help them solve their problems.
As salespeople study prospective buyers, they must learn what’s important to them and what they want to solve or what problems they want to avoid. By offering perspective to address buyers’ concerns and goals, sellers help buyers understand their situation from a different viewpoint. For example, perspective might help a buyer realize that a problem exists, see a solution they didn’t recognize before or discover a way to save money or to accomplish their goals more efficiently.
Ask Better Questions—and Get Buyers Talking
After scheduling a meeting or call with a buyer, sellers must continue demonstrating their knowledge and expertise to encourage the buyer to move further down the sales funnel. They must stand out from the 62% of sellers who merely meet buyers’ expectations and break the buyer apathy loop, which reinforces buyers’ belief that sellers have little to add to the decision-making process.
Sellers can showcase their knowledge by sharing what they’ve learned about the buyer’s business to frame insightful questions. The key is to ask the right questions at the right time.
These questions typically serve one of three goals:
- To obtain information: Does the seller understand their problem? Does the seller recognize their needs?
- To share information: Has the seller already identified a solution to their problem? Has the seller considered other options that might address their challenges? Have you helped them see their problems in a new light?
- To get a commitment: What steps do you need to take to move the deal forward? Do you have the buyer’s agreement on these steps?
Asking questions that align with these goals—and giving the buyer space to answer—leads to more meaningful conversations that ultimately inform the seller and build the buyer’s trust.
Highlight Seller Strengths
Sales organizations tend to look alike to buyers: almost 70% see little or no difference among sellers.
But sellers who use perspective are better equipped to stand out from the crowd. By tying their knowledge of the buyer’s business and goals to their value, sellers differentiate themselves from the pack and earn the opportunity to engage earlier in the purchasing process.
During the selling cycle, salespeople should spend time identifying why the buyer would view a seller’s strength as important to their business. If a strength doesn’t relate to the buyer’s needs or help them solve a challenge, it’s not persuasive enough to move the deal.
When a seller combines industry knowledge with insights about what’s happening at a buyer’s business, they put together a compelling message, demonstrating to the buyer that not only has the seller done their homework but also that they’ve developed a unique understanding that offers value to their business. Offering perspective opens the door to earlier conversations and entices buyers who feel that they’ve already made up their minds to reconsider when they want input from sellers during the buying cycle.
Get Perspective and Build More Trust
Every customer interaction is an opportunity for sellers to build trust and earn more business. Sellers today must go beyond meeting buyer expectations. By providing perspective, sellers help their buyers attain success in a new way. Offering perspective builds sellers’ credibility with buyers, elevating them from mere vendors to trusted partners.
Ready to earn greater credibility and shorten the sales cycle while conducting meetings that wow your buyers? Start building mutually beneficial, long-term customer relationships with the updated Conceptual Selling with Perspective, now available in digital, instructor-led training and combined modalities.