Updated for the summer of 2020!
"...change other people's behavior by changing one's behavior toward them." Dale Carnegie
I started calling myself a salesman in the 70's. I became a salesperson to be somewhat politically correct. Along the way, I've read a few books on selling, sales, behavior, business, psychology, specific sales processes and parts of the sales process. I am a professional salesperson and I believe that a professional has to continually learn about their profession.
If you're not a professional salesperson, but you need to get customers in order to stay in or grow your business, and you don't have time to be a professional salesperson, too, what process should you use?
You could try to learn:
Sandler Submarine (Pain, Budget, Decision, Fulfillment, Post Sell) (Bonding & Rapport and Upfront Contract were added later (probably) because salespeople 'forgot' to do them)
Baseline Selling - (First, Second, Third, Home)
GPCT - (Goals, Plans. Challenges, Timeline)
BANT – (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe)
Solution Selling, Spin Selling, The Challenger Sale, or whatever is cool and fashionable tomorrow,
or you could learn how to figure out what process your customer is using and follow their's.
Think about it. Prospects do their homework. They come to you with questions, a buying process and a pile of distrust and preconceived notions about your sales tricks and potential pitfalls. Whatever process you use, they're gonna try to screw you up. How many times have you been asked, "How much do you charge?", "What are your services?" or "What can you do for me?" and had to reply with, "You're on page 67 and I'm only on page 11. Can we get to that in a minute?" What do you do when they say, "No." or hang up?
Professional salespeople might have time to learn an entire system along with 100's of pages of witty comebacks to handle prospects with a brain, but chances are, if you're a founder of a VSB or an SMB or a solopreneur, you don't need to learn the latest sales system, you just need to be able to figure out how your customer wants to buy.
Don't you really just need the answers to these questions?
- Does this person have a problem that I can fix?
- Do they know it?
- Do they want it fixed?
- Can they tell me to fix it?
- Can they pay me?
- Do they believe that I understand their world?
- Do they believe that I have the expertise to help them?
- Do they want my help?
Eight yeses, everybody knows that everybody's ready.
Any nos, it's a no unless somebody wants to change their answer.
If you care more about your process, your product or scaling your company than listening and understanding your customer, you may be going out of business one conversation at a time.
Want to learn how to LISTEN to your customer and show them how well YOU UNDERSTAND?