How to Avoid the -So What?- Responses…
By Ton Verleg
Last week we were conducting training about the new way of selling, particularly the new sales process salespeople can follow as their guidance during their customer meetings. We role-played two rounds of opportunities with customers in several industries.
What stood out for me was how much the old way of selling is engraved into our brains. In round one, in nearly all the cases, the customers responded to the salesperson’s “insightful information” with:
Obviously, the information shared was not insightful enough to get the customer leaning in, to get their interest and excitement to continue with the conversation. As a result, the meeting went southwards.
In round two, the opposite occurred – the customer responded with the following:
- Aha, I didn’t know that.
- Interesting. Can you tell me a bit more?
- Ok, I have never thought about that. Where do you get this information from?
- Please go on. You got my interest.
What did the salesperson in round two do differently? What is it that we need to remind ourselves when preparing for customer meetings?
Customers want to discover something that is helping them move forward in their buying process. Not the other way around; it is not about you discovering the needs or wants of the customer so you can move forward in your sales process.
So the insight your share should help your customer with new information relevant to them. Insight selling doesn’t mean you share an insight that obviously leads to your solution. Then you are still selling with the Seller’s Perspective and not with the Buyer’s Perspective. This is still hard for many to get their head around. It’s a mindset thing. But, once you get it, there is no turning back, and you will be more successful.
The thing is, in the world, we are living in now, with so much information at our fingertips, customers often do not know their needs anymore. There are just too many options, too much information, and too many good ideas to pursue that hopefully turn into gold (read=top line growth or bottom line savings or both).
Too much of anything makes people unsure. It’s like going to the XXL supermarket, shopping for some breakfast cereal. Before you know it, you are standing in front of a 15-meter aisle with 45 different cereal products and brands. How do you make a choice? By reading all the descriptions on all packages? The thing is, everything costs time, which we don’t have.
In round two, our salespeople were doing much better. They had the following things in mind when they were preparing for the meeting:
- How can I help the customer with their business?
- What information would help them move forward in their buying process?
- What information may they have overlooked?
- What similar customers have I helped? What was their challenge? What information helped them to see a different perspective?
- What story can I tell about similar customer challenges, and how were these overcome?
- What business case can I share for them to consider different markets and customers?
They were putting their Business Acumen hat on and were thinking about what businesses have in common to do better than their competitors, like innovative ways to improve Consumer Experience. They also came equipped with Articles, White Papers and postings they found on the internet. None of these had anything to do with the products and solutions they were selling. The second round of salespeople were truly in the Buyer’s world. And that’s how they avoided the So What responses.Tags: Ton Verleg