A tough economy may seem like an improbable time to move current and prospective customers forward to a sale. Yet, it can actually be a great time – if you position yourself as a strategic consultant so customers realize they should not wait.
A good sales process focuses on a wants and needs assessment before introducing a solution. A GREAT sales process focuses on problems, opportunities, wants, needs, fears and risks! Re-read this list – it includes challenges, fears and risks.
Your market is facing these realities today. Your value increases when you think strategically with your customer and can help them answer tough questions they may not want to think about.
Here are some ways to strengthen your strategic value:
1. Look at your customers’ needs in a different light that includes the challenges, fears and risks that your customers will be facing. Answer the following questions as preparation. If you don’t know an answer, research what is going on in their specific industry or company.
- What challenges are they facing now that they weren’t the last time you spoke with them?
- What “realities” are a part of their immediate future?
- What are the risks to them purchasing – or not purchasing – now?
- What opportunities might they miss?
2. Develop open-ended questions that will get them talking about these areas. (Notice how none of the following example questions are directly about a product or service.)
- How is the unstable economy affecting your business?
- What are you facing today that you never thought you would?
- What are some of the measures your organization is taking to maximize the rest of this fiscal year?
- The last time we spoke, you mentioned that you were under a tight budget. How are you accomplishing your cost containment?
3. Restate the “What’s in it for Them” (WiifT) of your solution:
- If your solution will save them money in the long run, you might say, “You mentioned that you have to tighten your budget. We can help you with this. Our xxxx will save you $xxx in this next month. How will that help your cost containment?”
- If you can minimize a risk, you might say, “As you look to maximize your profitability for the remaining fiscal quarter, our solution will allow you an ROI of twice what you invest. This will help you meet budget.”
Recently a client who uses our Call Reluctance assessment asked to discuss it with me. I assumed they were going to cut out this “expense”. Before picking up the phone though, I changed my mindset and prepared for a great, strategic discussion. I learned they needed to increase productivity quickly. They had not thought about using the assessment information for managers to coach and increase individual productivity. They are now moving forward to train these managers.
Don’t get caught in default thinking such as, “No one is going to buy now.” Stay positive and be prepared with questions and information to assess problems, opportunities, wants, needs, fears and risks. This will not only set yourself apart, it will help you jumpstart your sales.
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