You know the issues; you see how you have the solution but the problem is your customer doesn’t. You’ve tried all your closing tactics and nothing is working. It’s as if they are immune to your efforts.
So it seemed to Phil as he explained during one of my sales training sessions. Phil sells machine tools and he shared his frustration; “I have this customer who buys a new piece of machinery every two years like clockwork.” “My problem is that he rotates his business between vendors.” “I can’t seem to get him consistently purchase our machines even though we have proven to be the most efficient.”
“What do you want them to do?” I asked.
Phil replied, “I want them to consider our machines each time they buy. I want them to realize that owning our machines, while they cost more up-front, have resulted in an increase in their capacity. I want them to see us as partners”
As he spoke, I wrote what he said on a whiteboard. I then asked, “What does your customer want?” Phil was silent. I then, circled all the “I want” comments Phil had stated.
I explained to Phil, and the class, “I want” are the two words that will disconnect you with customers and prospects. Selling is about helping. If you notice the difference between the words selling and helping, it is just two letters. When you are selling, the tendency is to focus on what you want. Like Phil your mind is filled with a lot of “I want them to do…..” self-talk. When you are helping, the tendency is to focus on them and what they need help with.
The focus of selling should not be on what you want. Customers do not care about what you want. It’s all about discovering what the customer wants or in some cases, getting them to discover what they need.
If you can solve the customer’s problem, they will listen to you. If you can solve your customer’s customer problems, they will bring you in as an advisor.
The only way you can do that is forget about your needs and help them get what they want. If you ask them, they will tell you but you have to ask them the right way.
How You Can Master Staying In the “Helping” Mode:
- Get your needs met outside your sales job. ‘I want” comes from the fact that you needs are not being met. Again, customers do not exists to fill your needs.
- Eliminate the word “I” from your conversations with customers.
- Questioning is a science and it takes practice to prefect it. Ask the top producing veteran sales engineers on your sales team and your sales manager what their one favorite question is. Write them down and use them.
- For every manual your read about your products, read two on questioning. An online search will provide you plenty to choose from.