In our previous post, we made it clear that we need to be paying more attention to what our customers have to say, at all stages of the buying process. It’s also clear that our Buyers value more than just how they’re treated once they’ve become a customer—they value how they’re treated throughout the buying process, as well. This is one of Lean Selling’s major shifts in how to view sales.
From the view of the Buyer, a sale isn’t just the end result of a purchase, it’s the entire process leading up to it. As we’ve touched on in another post, the sales process can provide more value to the Buyer than simply convincing them to buy your product. Providing your Buyer the information they need to make a decision—any decision—is a valuable service salespeople can provide that will directly improve your number of closed sales. It’s widely recognized that “No Decision” is the biggest competitor your business faces, and by shifting your sales focus to be more service-based, you’ll help combat that in a big way.
Salespeople are commonly taught to lead with the details of their product or service. In today’s internet age, if your prospects have found you already, they already know many of the pertinent details of what you offer. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have contacted you. What they want now are three things that a value-added salesperson can help a Buyer when they provide their sales service:
- The ability to make an informed decision on the best vendor/company for the product or service they require.
- Investing the minimum amount of time and effort in determining which is the best way to go.
- Having the confidence that they’ll never have to regret their decision (popularly known as experiencing Buyer’s Remorse).
Are your salespeople are providing these three things to their prospects? Is that what is on their mind when they work with Buyers-in-Process (BIP)?
Note that in what I just described, the primary value to the Buyer of engaging in your sales process isn’t the product itself. It’s in making the decision where the Buyer is seeing the most value. By aiding your Buyer in making a confident decision, you’re relieving the stress they feel in having to determine what constitutes a good choice for them or their company. Most salespeople are well-trained in explaining the logical side of why their product or service helps a customer. Few are as well-equipped to handle the emotional side of the decision-making process.
With the mindset of Sales as a Service, your Buyer can feel well taken care of throughout the buying process. Your Sellers have unique insight into just how their product or service can help the Buyer, and can present this information in a way that makes the Buyer feel that they are being uniquely serviced.
This is true even if your services are fairly standard; your sellers should be able to explain just how their services are uniquely suited to the Buyer’s specific problem. All Buyers believe they have a unique problem, don’t they? The way your product or service helps them will also be unique, and using this as a focus rather than simply emphasizing the technical aspects of what you offer can be a game-changer for your bottom line.
By highlighting what your products do to help the Buyer in their unique situation, your sellers will be engaging in activities that can be highly focused on having the Buyer making a decision. They will be supporting the Buyer’s emotional side (by finding the specific problems and unique benefits the Buyer will receive) while also providing the logical details that will provide the hard proof that decision makers need to make a purchase.
Utilizing a structured method of gaining Buyer-in-Process feedback as they move through your sales pipeline will help you gather hard data telling you at which part of the process your buyers are feeling the most uncertain. You can use this as an opportunity to train your staff or modify your techniques so that your buyers feel more supported at that particular stage.
It can also help identify where your salespeople can improve; not everything has to be negative feedback, after all! You won’t know what is or isn’t working, and at which stage, unless you have a structured plan in place to measure feedback and then adjust your sales strategy accordingly.
Viewing sales as a service rather than solely as a money-making department of your company not only makes your Buyers feel better, but will directly impact your bottom line. You may be surprised at how many Buyers are willing to purchase from a company that has shown they’ll take care of them from day one, not just when they become a paying customer. There are many examples describing how to make your customer service better, with several noting that better customer service leads to increased sales.
Why should quality treatment of your customers only begin after they’ve had their first problem?
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About: Robert Pryor is a Lean Selling author and community builder as well as a CEO, speaker, and educator on cutting-edge sales processes. His new book is Lean Selling: How to Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want. Follow by joining the LinkedIn Group “Lean Selling” or on Twitter @LeanSelling.