Successful salespeople have come to learn that selling is a process of advising and helping rather than trying to dupe the customer. In today’s world, where information is readily available and consumers are eager to do their own research, no clever quips or gimmicks are going to close the deal.
So how does one improve their sales records and reach sales goals while maintaining a help-orientated focus? You need to not allow your potential customer to assume you are more desperate for the sale than they desire your product or service. In short, be of use to them.
There are three aspects of this to think about before you close a deal
1. Am I able to help them?
2. Is my help required?
3. Do they desire my help?
1. Am I required to help them?
The first question is easy; is what you’re selling something that meets this customer’s needs? You must be able to ascertain this before you even speak to them.
This is an opportunity to do market research. Figure out exactly who is in need of your product or service and tailor your sales pitch to that target. Look at pitfalls in their current setup and figure out a way to be the best solution for them. Talk to relevant industry folk and try to determine the potential client’s situation and priorities.
Figuring out if you can help someone – be it as a money-maker, a money-saver – is the primary step to take before the actual selling begins.
2. Is my help required?
Here is where the questions become slightly more complicated. Your first instinct might be that if you can help them (question one) then they need you (question two). However, that may not be the case.
Try to be objective as you determine whether use of your product/service will yield actual, tangible improvements and results for the buyer. Don’t try to pair up the advantages of what you’re selling with the potential client’s problem immediately. Rather, look at the effects of your product on the problem with a skeptical eye. If it’s not truly going to make a difference, they don’t really require your help.
If a company’s priority is to keep doing as they have been, then they probably don’t need you to come in and make changes. The adage ‘why fix what isn’t broken’ fits here. A seller must ascertain whether or not your potential buyer has a broken part that needs fixing, or something that can be improved upon.
There are a few guiding aspects to look at when trying to determine if your help is required: The goals, plans, challenges and timeline of the company can help you see the answer. In addition to this, you must investigate the budget and authority (who has the final call?) within the company as well as potential consequences of inaction and potential benefits for the company.
If you have a “yes” after all this investigation, it is time to move on to question number three:
3) Do they desire my help?
Now that you know they need your help, you have to make your prospect want your help, specifically. Start figuring out the most suitable solution to whatever problem, challenge or obstacle your prospect faces. The best way to start this is through collaborative effort – in short, talk to the client and find out what exactly they want. Find a solution together. Ensure that you are the main player in this collaborative solution. Create a step-by-step plan as to what will happen should they buy, detailing exactly how you’ll aid them in achieving their goals.
As you explore this solution together, make sure to explain how previous experience with similar situations has contributed to your knowledge of best practices and most effective maneuvers. Success stories are a sure way to make your product seem desirable – these anecdotes solidify your prospects belief in your capabilities.
The best outcome of this process is the prospect asking you to buy – only ask “Do you need my help?” when you’re certain the answer will be a resounding “yes”.