A few weeks ago, I was sitting in an airport waiting for my plane to arrive and I struck up a conversation with the young man sitting next to me. He was wearing a nice suit, carrying a laptop, and appeared to be traveling on business so I asked him if he happened to be traveling to the same business event that I was. It turned out he wasn’t headed to the same place but we ended up having a very interesting conversation about sales.
He explained that he’s somewhat new to the sales industry and that he has found it a bit difficult to achieve the level of success he had envisioned when he entered the field. I offered him some advice about what I believe is one of the most important keys to selling and I’d like to share it with you here as well . . . it’s understanding the buyer’s perspective.
The way I see it, selling has everything to do with finding out what the customer wants, is able to pay for, and then making the deal (assuming you can provide the product/service). If it were really that simple, however, there wouldn’t be a demand for salespeople; buyers could get all they need from a machine. But, in fact, many buyers head off to go shopping for a product or service with only a vague sense of what might satisfy their needs. Turning a buyers vagueness into clear solutions is the job of the salesperson. Always remember that the buyer is looking for the best solution, delivered in an effective and pleasurable manner.
Buyers are multifaceted, and when they shop, they weigh the many pros and cons of a potential purchase. Some of these they will share with the seller, while many other thoughts they will keep to themselves. Learning and adapting to the issues and whims of the buyer while moving the sale forward to a conclusion is a complex and intricate task . . . and it’s the responsibility of the sales professional to ensure it happens.
Brian Roach, a friend of mine who sells computer technology told me about a great concept he calls the sales clock. He describes it this way:
It’s a great day. You answered a call from a new prospect, met with their team to discuss your product, and . . . they asked you for a proposal. Soon after delivering your proposal you started your wait for their decision. The sales clock ticks as you wait on the fate of your proposal. It may tick a long time before hearing back from the customer, and as the seller, you don’t know if you are being ‘stiffed’ or if the customer is swamped with other pressing priorities. Whatever the reason, waiting out the sales clock can be stressful. The last thing you want is for your own stress to create a negative impact on your prospect.
Brian reminds us that ‘it’s all about the customer,’ in the sense that the customer is the ultimate buyer, but the seller also has to earn a commission, meet monthly targets, and ensure proper work scheduling. Brian’s sales clock reminds us to always look at both the customer’s perspective as well as the seller’s demands with each sales scenario.
I have some tactics for helping you, the seller, determine if the buyer is putting you off or merely attending to pressing internal demands and also some techniques for effective communication which will help you tap into the customer’s perspective and I’ll be sharing them with you next Monday so be sure to come back then and check them out.
In the meantime, I’d love to get your take on some other ideas that you believe are important keys to selling so please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!