The World Over...despite cultural subtitles & nuance, the profession of selling
is amazingly similar. There are critical answers that must be revealed, analyzed, prioritized and then converted to value. This value proposition needs to be crafted through carefully chosen questsions and using words that align to the Buyer's needs, then structured with fore-thought, intent, and purpose. This approach serves to create a unique and differentiated offering.
Clearly, critical thinking is required of the Buyer...
However, critical thinking is not driven by the answers...
Ask Yourself This Simple Question !
What Is The Most "Over-looked" & "Under-developed" Sales Skill In The World ?
And When Utilized Effectively, It Has A Rippling Effect Across Every Aspect of B2B Selling
"It's the "ONLY" sales skill that has the ability to increase the effectiveness of every aspect of B2B Selling"
It's The Skill of Asking "Intentful" - "Purposeful" - "Thought-provoking" Questions !
Culture & Compatibility
Sales & Mgmt Training
New Hire On Boarding
"As a rising tide lifts all boats, so too, do great questions elevate every function of professional selling"
B Knight 2018
Technical Innovation vs Person To Person Innovation
It's no secret that all companies thrive on innovation. They thrive on creating it and they thrive on acquiring it. Even sales training and sales enablement organizations are eager to find ways of being more innovative. However, the greatest gains may not necessarily be found in technologies or applications. While technology benefits are valuable, they don't create innovation at the most critical intersection... "The Human To Human Connection"
What exactly is required for more effective communications? It may well start with being genuinely curious. It's Sellers being curious about the Buyers situation, the remedy of things that need resolution, and the creation of ways to extend what's already going well.
So, if technology or application doesn't help with more effective communication, then what does?"
Today's questions should be...
"Where is the innovation for the connection between real people, the innovation
for more effective verbal communications between Buyer & Seller?"
"So, how do Sellers differentiate themselves from the masses of mediocre conversations?
Conversations that ended up sounding more like "selling" versus "solving"!
Answer: It's The Questions We Ask... questions that are thought-provoking, that show empathy, that foreshadow understanding, that extend the thought process, that create new thoughts, that stir the imagination, that suggest the Buyer is speaking with a relevant salesperson, that smack of genuineness and authenticity, that let a Buyer know this will be different from the last 4 conversations they experienced with previous sellers.
"Know a person clever by their answers, but wise by their questions"
Naguib Mahfouz / Nobel Prize Literature
Ask yourself a few critical questions about these important topics:
What Is The Root Cause
Of Deal Slippage & Inaccurate Forecasts ?
While there can be numerous reasons, the likely culprit is often tied to a lack of consequential questioning with the Buyer. This type of questioning leads to the identification of various Buyer risks. One remedy might be a series of questions that explore the financial, operational, and competitive consequences of delaying or missing a targeted start date. Another remedy is questioning the potential value and advantages of accelerating the time to implement. Additionally, the total value of the offering may not have been fully established, minimizing the sense of urgency.
What Is The Primary Reason For Weak Or Losing Negotiations ?
One of the biggest causes of poor negotiation is the failure to uncover, via poor questioning, the Buyer's true "BATNA". Failure to uncover these critical answers, early cycle, may have the Seller negotiating on low price, late-cycle. Trying to address this issue late cycle, while sitting at the negotiation table, is not a strategy for success!
(Note: if unfamiliar with the term BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement) you may want to discuss 2Question's negotiation offering)
What may be the easiest way for Sellers to differentiate themselves ?
In a scenario I refer to as, "Buyer-biased Behavior", Buyers have become weary of too many Sellers who simply want to "sell versus solve". The ultimate impact is that Buyers have become predisposed to believe that Sellers do not truly understand their business. When Buyers were queried as to why they believed that Sellers did not understand their business, they replied, "I can tell by the questions they ask". By replacing the boring & universally common "can you tell me" questions with more thought-provoking questions, the Seller will not only be viewed as different but also more relevant. When the Buyer believes the offerings to be almost identical, the final difference-maker may be which Seller was most credible and understanding of the Buyers' situation.
Buyers tend to remember those Sellers who made them think!