In Part 2 we started to look at the skills you need to be effective at selling. In particular, we looked at the distinct stages people and organisations go through when procuring products and services, and the sales activities you typically engage in at each stage.
As we all know, though, life is rarely that straightforward. All kinds of things prevent customers moving between stages. These “blockers” are described below, together with some phrases that help to characterise the customer’s state of mind.
To give yourself the best chance of winning any sale, it’s vital that you have some involvement in shaping your customers’ thinking in stages 1 and 2. Avoid the sucker punch – when a client requests a price, don’t be tempted to give it to them until you understand their motivation and business needs.
When asked about address capture services, the questions I like to ask include:
- What’s prompted your interest in address validation?
- Is there a specific problem you are trying to solve?
- Why are you considering this now?
The good news is that once you get them talking, they are generally happy to offer plenty of background, which will give you a chance to expand the sale by identifying other products you offer that may be of value.
I’m making this sound easy, but you’ll know it usually isn’t. If your client is at stage 3, comparing products and services, the chances are they’ll find the conversation frustrating. Think of it as a trade: pricing for information.
I can’t stress enough how important the Motivation and Intention stages are in someone’s decision-making process. Next month I’ll explain why they are essential if you want to stand out from the competition, or get a stalled sale back on the move.