The RULE of THREE
Why would any customer buy from you instead of from one of your competitors? It can only be because you have differentiated yourself somehow. Customers must believe that you are a better answer to their needs.
That’s why it is so critical to understand which needs the customer cares most about and why. Only the customer can tell you. Genuinely professional salespeople know that selling is all about asking and listening—it’s not about talking.
When does it become your turn to talk? Action Selling offers this guidance: Do not stop asking questions until you have uncovered at least three needs that will allow you to differentiate or add value.
Keep asking until you uncover three ways to differentiate.
This means that you should never start presenting your product or service until you have found at least three specific needs that serve as targets to guide your presentation. You must present solutions for needs that the customer has expressed and agreed upon.When you don’t, you’re just describing commodities that the customer can buy from anyone.
If you fail to observe the Rule of Three, you will miss opportunities. And this is not talking only to salespeople who deal with complex or expensive products and services. This applies to selling something as simple as a box of screws. Read on, and you’ll see what this means.
Learn what real professional questioning skills are all about.
Action Selling in ACTION!
Hardware Resources Inc. is a Louisiana-based company that supplies cabinet hardware. Points of differentiation for HRI include: the quality of their screws, delivery and product packaging. After attending an Action Selling workshop, Pat Smith, a southwest sales rep for HRI, sent an email to his CEO, Jeff Lowe, who had approved the expense. Here is an abridged version:
Just want you to know that your investment in me and Action Selling is already at work. I just spent time with an account, asking open ended questions about his supplies. I asked what was important to him about screws. He said that they shouldn’t break and that he usually needed one-day delivery because his guys never tell him when he’s about to run out.
I could have jumped right to the selling part, but instead I asked another question: What else is important to you? Get this: He said, “Yeah, the stupid boxes get damaged, and we lose a lot.”
I repeated his concerns: “So, you need screws that don’t break, you need them fast, and you need them in a box that doesn’t break. Is that correct?” He said “Yes.” I shared our capability and gain his business. Price never even came up!
I still have a lot to learn, but this is a great start. Just thought you’d like to know your money was well spent. I appreciate it.