Like it or not—and many of us profess not to—we sell every day. Our business may sell a product or a service. Or we may be attempting to sell a prospective mother-in-law on our suitability or a spouse on the virtue of a vacation to Bali instead of Tuscany. We’re all hustling in one way or another.
This post addresses how to sell more effectively, and it borrows shamelessly from a March 23, 2011 article by Mike Schultz and John Doerr. (These gentlemen publish at Rain Today, a terrific source of sales and marketing info.)
In their article “4 Steps to Lower Buyer Resistance,” Messers Schultz and Doerr talk about creating a New Reality for prospects. If you do a good job, they say, potential customers are likely to move forward with you.
Essentially, what you do is paint a picture of what life will be like for someone who works with you. The more compelling a picture the better.
You start by asking prospects what improvements will look like. That’s establishing a benchmark, and because it’s in their words, they’re less likely to retreat from it. As you ask questions, caution the authors, don’t jump in to coach the answers.
Step 2 also cautions restraint. Even though you may know exactly what you can do for a prospect, don’t provide much detail. This may be a good time to say something along the lines of “Your situation is interesting. I think I can help you.” (Sales professionals, feel free to comment.) What you really want to do, say Schultz and Doerr, is to quantify the value you offer. Show prospects the difference between the current and the New Reality. Then moving smoothly to Step 4, show prospects what the New Reality looks like, whether by a simple chart illustrating the value of your product or service, before-and-after photos, or what-have-you.
An important point Schultz and Doerr make (I think) is that it’s easy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in sales but also not so hard to turn the situation to your favor. So why don’t we do the right thing consistently? Does anxiety play a role? Ineptitude? An unwillingness to truly listen?
What’s your take?