Posted: 2005-06-21 / Author: Craig Elias
Sell More: How To Get Motivated Buyers To Call You FirstHow many sales opportunities have you lost to competitors who seemed to have the inside track? It's likely your prospect purchased from their emotional favorite.
Selling goes beyond communicating the value of your products and services. Selling is about communicating the value of doing business with you. It is about connecting with your customer and becoming their 'Emotional Favorite'. Success in sales requires three things:
1) A viable product that addresses a need
Some in sales claim in sales timing is everything; experienced sales professionals know timing is the ONLY thing.
There are a plethora of credible businesses with viable products. To be truly successful at selling you need timing - to be the first or second person your customer talks to when they need something. There are three simple ways to get timing:
1) Sheer numbers - if you contact enough prospects, you'll eventually find opportunities
2) Referrals - someone tells you the customer has a need for your product or service
3) Become your customer's 'Emotional Favorite' - the customer calls you first
Value Of Being First
Being one of the first suppliers in front of your customers at the time they need what you sell is key to getting the business. Once the customer begins to shape a solution around a vendor's product or service, they become emotionally tied to that solution. People tend to make decisions and move on to the next problem.
What Is The Emotional Favorite?
Think about the last time you purchased a product or service. When you picked up the phone, did you call the person who helped you in the past? The person who adds value to your business or your career every time you ask for their assistance? Chances are you did. The fact of the matter is most people do. It used to be that people bought from those they know, like, and trust. To be successful in sales today, you need to go one step further and connect with your customers to become the person your customers know, like, trust...and want to see succeed. The emotional favorite is the person your customers call first, regardless of what they need.
Becoming The Emotional Favorite
So, if being the emotional favorite means you helping your customers fulfill their needs, how do you create this relationship where your customers think of you as their one-stop resource?
Start by asking questions about your customer when you meet for the very first time and at the end of EVERY sales call.
Think about the last time you encountered a 'stereotypical' sales person, the one who immediately launches into a sales pitch. How did you react? After a minute or two, did your eyes glaze over? As the sales person drones on, you stop listening waiting for an opportunity to end the conversation. Ultimately, that sales person falls to the bottom of the list of people you call when you need something. Not where you want to be if you're looking to become the Emotional Favorite.
Asking The Right Questions
Obviously, you're not going to start with 'Hi, I'm Craig. What's your greatest challenge?'
Start with open-ended questions: Ask about how the latest government policy changes, or shifts in technology has impacted their business. Relate their business to your other industry contacts and share some of your own insights. Then you can ask about their greatest challenges and you will likely get the answers you are looking for.
Frame your questions outside your existing sales professional to prospect relationship because by default, your customer will answer in terms of your products or services. Start with "Let"s forget about what I do for ABC Company for a minute" and ask:
* What is the biggest issue you have that you just can't get to? or,
* What is the one thing you are looking for but can't seem to find? or,
* What issue have you tried to solve but can't find a satisfactory solution to?
Now shut up and listen! When your customer stops talking, wait 6 seconds and listen to what they tell you next. First they'll tell you about the problem. If you don't interrupt them, they will tell you how the problem impacts them and the rest of their organization.
Now you have the enough information to connect your customer with a solution and if it's not available through you perhaps you know a colleague who can solve the problem.
What Are The Benefits Of Asking The Right Questions?
* You gain a better understanding of your customers and their organization.
* You will improve your customer relationships during a time when your customers do not need what you sell.
* You will get more time with your customers.
* You may learn of opportunities to sell.
Most customers don't tell you of needs they think are unrelated to what you sell. When you ask the above questions, you will learn of additional needs that may provide you with new opportunities to differentiate yourself and sell your products or services.
Craig Elias, a 15-year sales veteran and noted speaker on selling and networking, launched the first cross industry lead exchange company, InnerSell. Since then, InnerSell has won Tim Draper's "Billion Dollar Idea" pitch contest, received seed funding from the same silicon valley venture capital firm that funded Hotmail - Draper Fisher Jurvetson - and was recently chosen as one of the 40 hottest companies in Silicon Valley. http://www.InnerSell.com/
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