In my previous article, Three Ways to Earn the Right to Close the Sale, we talked about building relationships with our customers and really getting to know them as part of the process of Earning the Right to Close. I hope you have put some thought into truly building relationships.
In this follow up post, I’ll dig in a little deeper into the sales process. This is the area, in my opinion, where your product knowledge comes in.
True Expertise – in your customers’ eyes.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to make sure that all of your homework is done.
Does my customer see me as an expert in my field? Well, certainly if you are in sales you realize the importance of knowing your product or the service you are selling. This means that you know everything there is to know about your product and service and you know what makes it different/better than the competition. You’ve got that right?
But what makes you an expert in the customers’ eyes? Consider this….you know your product, but do you really understand your customers’ business? Do you know the challenges your customers face? By having a truly good understanding of your customers’ business and the challenges they face, you will be able to better position your product or service to be able to help your customer. AND truly helping your customer gets you closer to actually Earning the Right to Close!
Not just selling – but making a difference.
To bring this to light, I’ll share one of my experiences as a sales person. When I was in sales, one of the products I sold was insulin for diabetic patients. Now, I worked for a major pharmaceutical company and my drug was definitely the best insulin on the market. Physicians would easily agree with me and tell me that my drug worked better than any other on the market. But, when reports came in some of those physicians that were telling me my insulin was the best were still not writing my product.
So why were those physicians not prescribing my product?
I certainly don’t want to minimize the fact that treating diabetes is a complicated process, however I do want to emphasize that sometimes the answers are so simple that as sales people we miss important steps.
Like asking important questions….
I dug in and asked some key questions:
• How do you explain the process of taking insulin to a patient?
• How do patients typically respond to having to take insulin?
• How do you teach a patient the appropriate method of giving himself insulin?
NOW suddenly, I began to understand some of the challenges my customer was facing!! By asking questions about my customer’s challenges, I was better able to offer solutions that were pertinent to the challenges instead of singing the praises of my product!
This is where the separation of a regular salesperson and an expert comes in!
If I had continued to only offer the features and benefits of my product without having an understanding of my customer’s challenges, then those monthly reports probably never would have changed!
Did I get every sale?
HECK NO, but I got my fair share!!! Not only did I get my fair share but, by being able to offer solutions that were helpful, I was left with a satisfaction of knowing that the work I was doing was truly making a difference!
- Do I truly understand my customer’s business?
- What other questions should I be asking to understand my customer’s business?
- MORE importantly, have I listened intently to my customer in order to get a true sense of the challenges my customer faces?
Remember, the sale will come once you earn the right to close!
I am truly interested in hearing your success stories. Please share with us your progress on being an expert or understanding the challenges your customers face. I am anxious to hear what works for you!!
And oh by the way, we still have work to do before we EARN the RIGHT to Close!