In this article we're going to get 'real' with you.
Because being able to add huge value during every stage of the sales process is probably THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU MUST BE ABLE TO DO TO ENSURE YOU WIN THE SALE.
Ask yourself these two questions:
I want you to be completely honest for a second and ask yourself these two questions:
Do I conduct adequate research to identify potential pain points of my prospects before I pick up the phone?
How many of my prospects agree to meet with me again after the first time you make contact?
You probably haven't done your job if your prospect asks you to follow up with them sometime in the next few months when they have more money, time or some other "important" thing that's preventing them from spending a few minutes with you there and then.
When a prospect uses this excuse it's quite simply a brush off. They don't become a hot lead, it's an excuse that most people feel comfortable using to get you off of the phone and out of their life... And deep down I suspect you already know that. It might feel good to have a list of people to call in the coming months but it's a complete and utter waste of your and their time.
Simply put, if you are able to identify the pain point BEFORE you ever pick up the phone and can instantly demonstrate the HUGE value you can bring to their business when you do speak, then - and only then - will your call/success ratios shoot through the roof.
What Is Added Value During The Sales Process?
Value added selling is a content rich message of hope. It's both a philosophy and a go-to-market strategy
Many of the problems that salespeople encounter come from a short-term, transaction-oriented sales mentality. This transactional approach means that they go from deal to deal and from order to order. Customers feel like a means to an end.
Value Added Selling is a philosophy and a process. It’s not a sales call. The Value Added Sales Process brings maximum value to the customer and to the sales rep. Because it’s a process, you must understand the strategic significance of your actions and the impact they have on the customer. Value added salespeople are thinkers and planners. - Tom Reilly, Award winning author and acclaimed sales expert
To Know Your Prospect, You Must Become Your Prospect
Sun Tzu once said, "to know your enemy, you must become your enemy." Whilst prospects are not enemies, the same principle of knowing your prospects applies. How can you add value if you do not know what your prospect's needs, wants and pain points are?
The sales process is a proactive one and it must start with an investment in time from the sales rep. A sales representative cannot always afford to wait for a prospect to provide them with the answers, so the sales rep must learn as much as possible ahead of time and also proactively ask relevant questions to instigate the process.
As a sales rep, your time is spent selling to individuals and companies who may not even know they need your product or services. As the representative, it is your job to enlighten your prospects in such a way that everyone gets what they want and need.
Sounds simple right? The reality is, the simplicity of that process comes down to the amount of value you add to your sales calls with prospects.
So how can you add value to ALL your Sales Calls?
Listen, Listen and Listen
Ever heard the saying, "you have two ears and one mouth"? If you haven't, it basically means that we should spend twice as much time listening than talking. The first few conversations should be spent listening to your prospects. How else can you provide them with the service that they need if you don't know what they need?
Then you need to learn from their words, what they need. This requires both anticipation and questions. Prospects are not always clear on their needs and this is where your listening skills are vitally important.
Focus on Outcomes (The Dream)
No matter how much you promote a product to a prospect you will not get the results you want if you sell the wrong thing. Don't sell features and benefits, sell the dream.
If your sales calls merely focus on listing off a number of features rather than being able to demonstrate the value that your products/services offer, you are most definitely alienating the prospect.
It's akin to turning up to a date and talking about yourself. As with a first meeting, progress is made when you show considerable interest in the other party. Make your prospects feel comfortable and show them what the future may look like if they invest their time and energy into being with you over someone else.
Direct them to Valuable resources
One thing I have become proficient in is sharing my knowledge. Whether it comes directly from me or from another source, is irrelevant.
The purpose is to inspire them into a specific action or to help them view their problem from a different angle. For instance, I always suggest to people I know have a track record of struggling with problems to read Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats. Why? It helps people to look at their problems from different angles and then find solutions. These problems do not have to be related to what you are selling. Remember, you are using these calls to build a relationship, so you should be interested in all aspects of their business and providing answers for a few of their problems.
Yes, your product is meant to be a solution to their problems but marketing it as the only solution is disingenuous. Contrary to what you may think, by showcasing your willingness to use external sources, you are in fact qualifying your own offering. In fact, by undertaking this, you are positioning yourself as an advisor rather than 'just another sales guy who wants my money", ensuring they will pick up your call in future.
Michael J. Ringer, is an internationally recognised sales expert, trainer and entrepreneur. He shares his:
5 Things You MUST Know In order To Be Able To Add Huge Value On Your Sales Calls
1) Are you selling or consulting?
A crucial aspect of business is that it evolves. In the past 15 years we've gone from Nokia to the iPhone, dial-up to wi-fi. The consumer has changed too, the 1960's sales methods don't offer value, they push and force your prospect to buy. Your prospects don't want to be sold to, they want to be helped. The best way to add value when you're on a sales call is to find out their problems, and show them exactly how you solve it.
2) Your Prospect doesn't Buy the Product
When you're on the phone to a prospect they don't purchase the product, they purchase the solution to a problem. If you want to add value to a client's life, then you need to understand exactly what problems they're having, and understand your product well enough to show them how it solves their issues.
3) Understand What Value Is
Value is not something which is inherently logical to you, value is what the client perceives as value. You may see that there is a logical case for your prospect to purchase because it will generate more money for their business, however, what you don't know is that the client needs to save more time in order to spend more time with their family, this is what's valuable to them, infinitely moreso than just making more money. You see, when it comes down to it, the client has to see the value, show them it.
4) How You Know That You've Created Value on Your Call
Only when a client see's logically how your product or service can benefit them, and how it will benefit them emotionally, and agree that it will do so, will you know that you've created value. The sale is not made by you, the sale is made by the client.
5) Who's Selling?
The best sales calls don't involve what you would intuitively call 'selling'. To elaborate, by "selling" I mean those 1960's techniques that push a client for a "yes".
What you want to do in order to create the most valuable sale and to create the easiest sale, is to get the client to sell for you! How do you do this? It's simple, relevant questions which lead the conversation towards them making a logical and emotional cases to give you a decision, now. (Note: I didn't say "buy" to you, your role as a sales person is to get a final decision, yes or no.)
Credit given to Sabian M Muhammad for contributing to this article