Imagine If ...
Sellers routinely heard these responses
from Buyers & other key stakeholders when questioning...
"I've never considered it from that perspective before"
"How about accompanying me to my next meeting and ask the same questions"
"We should have been asking ourselves these questions 30 days ago"
"That's really interesting, I'd like to get a colleague's thoughts on that too."
"I've never been asked that question before."
"That's intriguing, let me think about that before answering."
"Now that's a really good question."
"That question triggers a number of thoughts."
Why are the above statements so important ?
"Because Sellers Are Not The Only Ones Doing The Qualifying"
As Buyers involved in the evaluation & decision-making process, please know that when we meet you for the first time and thereafter, we're likely to have a bias based on our previous experiences with other sales reps. You'll be lumped into one of these 5 categories based on your thought-provoking questions, curiosity, relevance, and insights".
Buyer to Seller... "where you initially enter our buying process and
where you eventually end up, is entirely up to you!"
1. Necessary Resource: Almost No Value / "I experience little value in you other than view you as a conduit to getting your solution, should I choose it".
2. Product Expert: Some Value / "I appreciate the level of knowledge you bring regarding your solutions and how they're differentiated from other alternatives".
3. Problem Solver: Much Value / "In addition to your product knowledge, you help us think
through the various ways that we can capitalize on your offerings to meet our objective and to protect & maximize our investment with your organization".
4. Trusted Advisor: Great Value / "You bring an advanced awareness and understanding of my industry, my business, and the related challenges we face. Your questions drive fresh perspectives and new insights. You consistently bring value to our relationship and are aligned with our objectives & goals, not just our problem".
5. Critical Resource: Unprecedented Value / "There is a depth of overall knowledge we get from you that makes it critical to have you part of our team. We experience value well beyond the scope of the problem we are trying to address. Your inclusive questioning from a variety of perspectives are appreciated from the CEO down to new hires. Your candor is always appreciated and welcomed".
Consider This Statement
"Too frequently, sales reps truly don't know whether they are winning or losing,
until they have either won or lost"
If you take exception to the statement above, consider the following...
According to HubSpot, the majority of sales organizations are closing about 17-29% of their opportunities. Stated differently, they lose 6 - 7 deals out of 10. For most Sellers, these "lost deals" are not recognized until very late in the sales/buying cycle or until they hear "no". The consequence of this situation can be devastating. In addition to impacting the accuracy of forecasts; it wastes any company resources that were invested in the opportunity, they must now find a replacement prospect, and competitors now have a proof point and good story to tell to their prospects. Perhaps even more unfortunate, if the Seller had the luxury of a Champion selling on their behalf, the loss probably damages the credibility of the Champion for picking the wrong horse in the race. Making it worse, the sales rep rarely goes back to their Champion to address what happened and to repair the relationship.
.If You could shift the odds a bit, going from 3 wins out of 10 to 4 wins out of 8. Imagine the impact to Seller and sales organization by simply qualifying out of 1-2 deals (and be able to justify it) that were never going to buy anyway.
The Answer Is Simple But Not Easy...
Basically, it boils down to securing a variety of perspectives from different stakeholders, earlier in their buying cycle. The process of gathering financial - operational - technical - competitive - innovative and other perspectives, signals to the Buyer that they are dealing with an experienced, thought-provoking Seller. This approach also enables a more collaborative conversation that serves to establish trust & credibility.
"The goal is not to just ask questions…but rather to become a great questioner" B.Knight 2018