Sales success sure seems complicated at times. Sales strategies abound, theories come and go, and tools and methods constantly evolve. Lost in the chaos, however, is one simple truth: sales success depends on buyers getting what they want. And because buyers are human, just like salespeople, their wants and needs should be relatable to the salesperson who cares enough to walk in their shoes for just a little while. So, let’s get back to the basics of sales success and consider what every buyer really wants:
When you think about it, every salesperson is also a buyer. We buy groceries and clothes and theater tickets…and on and on. Much of the time we buy items online or off-the-shelf, influenced by media and signage, often not by an in-person human being. Other times, however, we become the buyer in the presence of a salesperson. New car, new boat, new suit, new house? Think about your last experience being sold TO. Was the salesperson spewing a standard pitch of features and benefits, or did the salesperson ask questions and get to know more about you and your needs first? Chances are, if the salesperson cared enough to consider your needs – rather than just his need to make the sale – you felt more cared for. You felt listened to. You felt valued. And perhaps you even felt more inclined to buy. Remember that the next time you are selling to a prospect.
The Secret Ingredient to Sales Success
Simply put, the secret ingredient to sales success is… caring. That’s it. That’s all. Caring! When you sift through all the sales philosophies and strategies and tactics, caring about the buyer is what matters most. Caring about customer wants and needs shouldn’t be a differentiator between you and your competitors, but I’ll bet it will be. If you show you truly care about your customer, about their wants and needs and goals, about their success, you will stand out from the crowd. And you will earn their trust and increase your chances of landing a new customer.
So, what do buyers want? What do we all want? Among other things, it seems to me we all want to be listened to, heard, respected, and valued. We want to know you took the time to do your homework before the sales meeting, so you don’t waste our time learning basic details. We want you to bite your tongue and hold back the litany of features and benefits, using that time instead to listen and learn. We want you to have empathy and care about our backstory, about how we got to where we are.
And then we can consider what you are selling. Then we can consider – together – if your solution can be OUR solution.
These days, with so much information available online about every company and every buyer, it is expected that you enter the sales situation well-informed. And while it is common to ask questions to discover the “pain” that needs cured (perhaps by what you are selling, perhaps not), that discovery doesn’t go deep enough. If you care enough about the buyer to understand WHY their “pain” began and why it persists, you stand a better chance of becoming a partner in helping them eliminate that problem. Digging deeper, of course, leads you to the backstory.
Upfront research can reveal facts, figures, timelines, and even personal details that can be essential to sales. But true rapport-building, the kind that leads to long-term customer relationships based on trust, takes a different kind of approach. It takes a willingness to subvert your sales pitch in order to listen and learn, to truly understand the root cause of the problem the buyer needs to solve. Only then can you be certain your solution is what the buyer needs. Only then can you confidently describe your solution, knowing it is in the prospect’s best interest. Only then can you begin a partnership with the buyer.
The Bottom Line:
In general, salespeople have a bad reputation. But by caring – genuinely caring – enough to learn the buyer’s backstory, you can not only increase your chances of sales success, but you can also help elevate the impression of sales professionals. After all, what buyers want is pretty simple and simply human: to be listened to, heard, respected, and valued. They want to buy from someone they trust, from someone who has earned that trust by caring about their wants and needs. This is the kind of fresh approach to sales success our licensed Sales Xceleration Advisors understand and implement for small- to medium-sized businesses every day. To learn more, click here to find your nearest Sales Xceleration Advisor, or call us at 844.874.7253.