Scott had never looked at it that way. “I guess you’re right,” he said, thoughtfully. “It’s as if I’m helping to create a system of discounting — a culture where price-haggling is normal. I took a vacation last year, and it really struck me how different the whole concept of shopping is when you go to a resort or deal with a beach vendor. Nothing has a set price. You’re expected to haggle. The vendors think you’re an ignorant jerk if you don’t haggle with them. Geez, have I managed to turn myself into one of those guys who sells straw hats to tourists?”
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Action Selling’s emphasis on questioning skills is key. Great questions do a lot for a sale, but above all they build trust. No matter how good the pitch, a customer who has been pitched has no reason to trust a salesperson enough to keep on taking those steps. But a customer who has been expertly questioned—and listened to, and understood—has every reason to believe that the salesperson cares about him and his real needs. Of course a customer will walk hand in hand toward a solution with a partner who has earned his trust and obviously is dedicated to finding the best solution. I would. So would you.
Your company has tried to differentiate its goods or services with guarantees, “partnership” programs, and other value-add strategies to let you compete on some basis other than price. But so have your competitors. Their value-add strategies look almost as much like yours as their products do. Like almost all goods and services, these strategies, too, have become commodities. Even if you come up with a tactic that is genuinely new and different, competitors can quickly copy it. And your customers go right back to hammering you on price. Month after month, year after year, the price pressure increases.
A client will almost never come right out and tell a salesperson, ‘I’m not going to buy from you because I don’t like you or I don’t trust you,’ But it happens all the time with major sales. If you’re asking the customer to spend thousands of dollars, or maybe to risk their reputation by bringing in your products or services, you simply cannot be someone I don’t like or trust. Before you can sell the customer your product, they have to be sold on you.
6 Must-Have Elements that Yield High Sales Success Rates Experience is a wonderful teacher, but only if you pay attention and draw the right lessons from your experience. It pays to document certain portions of your company’s sales process – and the most successful practices that you and your salespeople have found for generating successful sales relationships. Companies that do this increase their potential to maximize revenue, protect margins, and help their salespeople make more sales…
When your people receive sales training, who actually conducts the training and handles the follow-up coaching duties? If you are a sales manager, I think your response ought to be, “I do.” If that is not your answer, you likely are headed for trouble.
“Are you kidding?” Tony exclaimed. “Even if I can earn a customer’s loyalty, I have to work hard to keep it. Never mind the fact that we’ve got serious competitors who want loyal customers as badly as we do, and who are always trying to beat our prices, or forge better relationships, or both. Even when the competition isn’t pressing me to come up with more creative solutions, the customers themselves are. In this case, my competition is the client’s own technical staff.”
Having established this, Ron and Carrie asked a number of questions that seemed genuinely intended to clarify Amstand’s needs, not just to provide excuses for them to try to sell us particular GoTeam products or services. How’s that for unusual? I sensed a system at work and a particular philosophy of selling—Ron and Carrie were too well coordinated to be making this up on the fly—but it wasn’t any system I knew. A term like “consultative selling” wouldn’t begin to do it justice.
“But now, when I present my product features and benefits in Act 6, I can use a target rifle instead of a shotgun,” Matt said, picking up the thread. “Instead of boring the customer with a data dump, I aim at the needs we’ve already agreed on and explain how particular features and benefits will best serve those needs. That should be pretty easy to do, since I uncovered the needs in the first place by Back-Tracking Benefits derived from my own product features.”