Today we will look at how we bridge the gap between introduction and uncovering the buyer’s need, which of course is the primary aim of the sales interview. If we are to be able to add any value through our solutions a way to do this is to set an agenda.
By setting an agenda at the start it helps the prospect to understand what will happen and what the outcomes of the meeting will be. It will also show them that you have structure, particularly important when dealing with analytical buyers.
Sales meeting agendas are either set by you or you let the prospect set them. The trouble with letting the prospect set them is their agenda is to deal with you as quickly as possible as their time is generally very limited.
Studies have shown that most senior managers have at least 56 hours of work in front of them. The more direct type of prospects will come straight to the point and might ask questions such as:
What do you offer?
What can you do for me?
How much will it cost?
The trap for many of us is we mistake these questions for buying signals and launch right into our sales presentation. This is what I refer to as “premature presentation”. This has killed many sales before they ever got off the ground.
If we can define the steps in our sales process which consistently lead to sales we can follow these methodically and therefore achieve predictable results.
An agenda might look something like this:
• A brief statement about the purpose of the meeting and the likely outcome
• A value statement about our company and service/product (25 words or less – less is more!)
• Then onto asking them your prepared questions
This is an interview the purpose of which is to uncover a specific need you can help this prospect with. It is not a sales pitch. A sales pitch is basically a “show and tell” where the seller ends up doing most of the talking after asking some routine questions and establishing a few of what I term “surface needs”. The flaw in this type of presentation is it is very difficult to show a return on investment for the buyer.
Business owners need to see a clear return on investment as there is generally a large amount of risk in their mind when considering changing to another provider. Therefore we need to minimize the risk or eliminate it entirely to changing to our solution.
Imagine if I offered you a rock for $10,000, your initial reaction might be “how ridiculous”, however if I then provided a certified jewelers valuation identifying it as a 9 carat uncut diamond then the risk of the purchase would have been eliminated and the real value established – making it easier for you to make the buying decision.
So coming back to the opening – this is the most critical part of your sales process as this is where the sale is made and the stage is set for closing the sale.
We will continue with this subject in my next article.
Key Action –
Write a value statement in 25 words or less about what you do.
Quote of the Week –
“A bore is a person who opens his mouth and puts his feats in it”
Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.