CAN YOU CHALLENGE YOUR CUSTOMER?
One of the most essential parameters to differentiate yourself in a sales process is your ability to inspire the customer with new ideas and perspectives.
Whereas it used to be a matter of being the best at selling the benefits associated with a product, it is now about helping the customer solve a business challenge that ensures sales success.
This has meant that as a salesperson today, you are forced to prepare significantly more as you are expected to bring new angles and fresh knowledge into the sales process.
You must be able to provide input, challenge, and educate your customer on the following areas:
- New technologies emerging in the industry
- Insight into market trends
- Examples from other customers in similar situations
- Anecdotes from other industries where there may be overlapping factors
- Knowledge of societal or industry megatrends
- Statistics relevant to the customer’s situation
- Unconventional angles that challenge the standard business model
These elements should be woven into an overarching message that can inspire and motivate the customer to think differently. And by this, it’s not meant a single catchy phrase or a simple point, but rather your ability to blend multiple factors that lead to a constructive dialogue about the customer’s way of viewing and thinking about their business.
You should focus on the business gains that lie in changing the customer’s current situation rather than presenting the benefits of a product or service.
Once the customer has connected with your commercial message, the conversation can lead to your solution answering the customer’s needs.
In summary, the success criterion for a robust commercial message is the following four points:
- The message must be relevant to the customer!
- The message must ignite the customer’s curiosity, interest, reflection, or a burning platform.
- The message must address both the customer’s current problem AND the customer’s potential benefits.
- The message must appeal to one’s strengths. That is, the seller’s solution, product, or service must wholly or partially be the answer to the customer’s business challenge.
Educate and Inspire
You can educate and inspire your customers in many ways, such as through inspirational meetings, articles, or conferences. The methods of sharing your knowledge and insights with the customer have one thing in common: they are explicit activities running parallel to the sales process. The more implicit part is your personal use of less generic messages that you choose to bring into play during the conversation with the customer. Suppose your company has developed a broad commercial statement that all sellers use to contact customers. In that case, you should still ensure ongoing gathering of new information you can contribute.
Surveys show customers today primarily want input and ideas for broader business development. Their increased expectations that the salesperson contributes with new knowledge and insight set higher demands on you as a salesperson. However, customers will be more likely to invite you to the table if your commercial message resonates with them.