Do whatever is necessary to take your prospect’s breath away.
As a salesperson, you don’t have control over many of the most crucial elements of your selling. This includes several of the key aspects that are central to developing the prospect’s perception of you, your company and your offering.
You can’t control:
- The completeness or quality of the solution you sell.
- The pricing of the product or service you sell.
- How your product is supported and serviced.
In highly competitive markets, if you want to create the thin margin of differentiation that is often the difference between winning and losing, then you have to focus on perfecting the three facets of your selling over which you have complete control.
This means maximizing your:
- Product Knowledge
- Industry Expertise & Customer Knowledge
Let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail.
Responsiveness in sales is not just about speed. To be responsive means to provide the information your prospect needs with speed. It’s about being the first seller with the answers (which dramatically improves your chances of winning the order). It’s about responding to a sales lead in Zero-Time. You can be the first seller to respond to a sales lead, but if, at the same time, you can’t deliver information that is of value to the prospect, then you aren’t being responsive.
Responsiveness is about time. It’s the easiest way to create a strongly positive first impression with your prospects. And the most important thing about responsiveness is that you have direct control over how responsive you are. The choice is up to you. Make responsiveness a priority and you’ll see an immediate change in your performance.
What prospects want most from salespeople is information. If not, why would they be talking to you? After all, if you can’t provide a level of information that is more comprehensive than what your prospects can find on the Internet by themselves, then why do they need you? As research from Forrester has found, in many cases they don’t.
You have complete control over how much product knowledge you acquire. Unfortunately, too many salespeople rely on their employers to spoon feed this knowledge to them. That’s just not enough. You have to take the initiative to continually increase the depth of understanding you have of the products you sell (and the customers you serve). Click here to read my article on the level of personal investment you need to make in your own ongoing sales education.
Industry Expertise & Customer Knowledge
What are the problems that companies in the industries you serve commonly face? How are other customers using your product or service to meet their specific needs? What are the unique ways that other companies are using and deriving value from your product and service? How are customers using your products to grow their top line, increase profits, expand market share, reduce time to market or whatever value they are receiving from their investment in your product? These are among the kind of insights that your prospects want from you.
It’s up to you how many of these insights you acquire. How much of your time are you investing to talk with your existing customers about their experiences with your product or services? How many of your more experienced colleagues are you talking with about their customers and the lessons that they have learned from them? Developing the necessary industry and customer expertise is a function both of experience and your willingness to go the extra mile to acquire this knowledge. Again, it’s up to you.
The common thread connecting the elements of your selling that you can control is time. They all relate to helping your prospects achieve one of the key objectives of their buying process: reducing the time required to gather the information they need to make a good decision.
And, if you help your prospects make faster decisions, then that creates more selling time for you. What would you do with more selling time? You’d develop more new prospects, close more orders and make more money. Of course.
To be a consistently successful salesperson you have to focus on perfecting those aspects of your selling over which you have direct control. There is nothing that can prevent you from maximizing your responsiveness, becoming extremely knowledgeable about the products you sell and acquiring valuable insights about your customers, their business and the optimal way for them to utilize your products or services. Except you. Make the choice to take your prospects’ breath away.