Let’s talk about the intent of your sales process for a moment. Are you trying to push your prospects into buying from you, or pull them into buying from you?
In my opinion, both those approaches are wrong.
Selling based on features and benefits results in trying to make the prospect buy from you. Whether you attempt to:
* Push them into buying from you, by forcing your values of the features and benefits of your product or service on them, or
* Pull them into buying from you, by trying to attract them with those same values, and hoping they will match up with their own values, and you will have an ineffective and inefficient sales process.
If you’ve read some of my articles on resume writing and the job hunting process, you’ll note a similarity here. The employer does not hire you (and the prospect does not buy from you) for your reasons. They buy for their reasons.
So if you can’t push and you can’t pull in the sales process…what can you do?
This can be a very disturbing question for salespeople. I was in technical sales for several years, and worked with features and benefits selling because that’s all I knew there was. Here’s the kicker: I didn’t know why in some situations I’d get the order, and in others I wouldn’t.
Talk about a weird situation! Here I was, supposedly experienced, knowledgeable about the products and services offered by the companies I worked for…and I had no idea why things worked some times and didn’t others.
Here are some key indicators of sales confusion:
* No documented sales process
* No sales coaching
* Doing a great deal of quoting to prospects who then disappear
* Consistently getting squeezed on price.
Trying to push or pull my prospects into buying from me, based on features and benefits, resulted in this situation! Recognize any of these indicators in your own work?
Yes, there is a way to improve your sales efficiency and effectiveness and at the same time eliminate these sales confusion indicators. Remember from the last entry, customers buy from you for their own reasons, not yours! So how do you find out their reasons? Ask Them.
And that process, the systematic and effective questioning of prospects, is the real key to sales success. It’s something different in sales, and hardly anybody does it well or at all. I’ll bet 95% of salespeople have no idea, just like I used to think, that there is another way than features and benefits selling. It takes time and practice to learn. So this is the powerful alternative to trying to push or pull your prospect over the “passion fence” to buy from you: help them find out their very own reasons. Consultative Selling is what it’s called, and it will completely change how you go about the sales process.
Another take-away thought: If they say it, it’s true.
Jason Kanigan is a consultative sales training professional originally from Vancouver, BC, Canada, and now based out of Wilmington, NC, USA. If you are experiencing sales issues such as:
* trouble “prospecting” on a regular basis
* sales results that are up and down, rather than always consistent
* encountering price as a major objection on a consistent basis
then we should speak. More information at [http://www.kanigan.ca].
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