Turning The Sales Process On Its Head
A recent article published on LinkedIn argued that there is far more to sales than costs and benefits. Sales process specialist Jean Marc Bellot, along with many others, believes that in order to sell successfully you have to put yourself in the customer’s position and work backwards. We have summarized their ideas in order to stimulate debate. What do you think? Is selling about keeping things simple, or is there more to the process?
There are millions of articles online about effective sales strategies and techniques. Most suggest that you follow a rigid series of steps. These start at identifying your product or services’ main benefits and end with successfully closing the sale. However, formulas for sales success are largely a waste of time as they do not put your customer at the centre of your sales strategy.
The only way to guarantee sales success is to think of everything in terms of your customers’ requirements and concerns. Define what it is that your customers wants and needs and you can then create a sales strategy that works for your customer and therefore increases conversions.
Picture your customer satisfied with every element of the process of buying from your business. Work out exactly how to eliminate their concerns and trigger their decision to buy. The fundamental questions are “why did they buy from us?” and “what differentiates us from our competitors?” It is vital to identify the triggers that make your customers opt for your company over the alternatives.
Every customer suffers from doubts before deciding to spend money. Identify and address them and you are on the way to creating an effective sales strategy.
More Than Costs And Benefits
There is more to customer satisfaction than identifying your products main benefits and selling them to your customers.
The reasons behind buying decisions are often intangible. For example, does your company’s ethical stance influence customer’s buying decisions? What is it about our company that inspires confidence and pushes customers to go with their gut and pick your product or service?
Buying decisions are not just influenced by costs and benefits. They also come from the part of the brain that is driven by belief and instinct. If your customers believe in your company and its ethos, then they are much more likely to spend their money with you. If you can’t think of any reasons why your customers should believe in you, then it is time to reappraise your corporate identity.
For example Nike makes shoes. However, people buy their products not because they fit their feet or make them run faster but because they believe in Nike’s ethos of helping them to better themselves. Apple just makes computers but has created an identity based on design and rebel status that drives its sales. Apple customers pay a premium to buy into this image.
Once you have identified the key factors behind your ideal customers’ buying decisions you are then in a position to design a sales methodology.
Your sales team must approach each customer with a road map that allows them to eliminate concerns, make the buying decision as easy as possible, and foster belief. Rather than focusing exclusively on benefits or costs, address every doubt that your customer has and aim to inspire them with your ethos.
Instead of starting with your product or service work backwards from your customers’ ideal buying experience. Design a sales methodology based on making each customer’s decision to buy straightforward and as instinctive as possible. If this involves making changes to your product or service, or radically redesigning your company ethos, then do not hesitate.
By putting your customer’s needs and gut instincts at the heart of your sales process you make end up with more satisfied customers and therefore more profits.
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