Article Author Mike Eisenhuth, is a Success Coach for LandOpt, an NALP Consultant Member firm.
Imagine you are seeking a contractor to do work on your house. What qualities, features and attributes will you look for in this service provider? What questions will you ask? As a consumer, you want to ensure the best investment of your hard-earned money. The same is true for customers of your business.
Your excitement at getting the sale often means some level of fear, trepidation and uncertainty for the customer. After all, by spending money with your business, the customer is limiting spending power and buying options elsewhere. The more thoroughly and honestly you can educate a prospective customer on the benefits and unique value of both the proposed solution and the business, the greater the chance the prospect will consent to move forward in the sales process. Here are four unconventional, effective ways to educate the customer and win the sale.
Be a Storyteller
Education during the sales process should involve directly addressing how the proposed solution can benefit the customer. Well-chosen, relevant stories rooted in past projects and installations the business has completed – with visual aids as appropriate – can help the customer to feel actively involved in the process and to envision how the solution can work in their unique circumstance. Additionally, stories serve as anchors that keep the focus on the solution and away from ad nauseam reiterations of specific benefits or features.
Bait the Hook
Customers are used to sales professionals extolling the virtues of their businesses and products and leaving little room for buyer input and are often pleasantly surprised by a fresh, customer-centric approach. Make it clear from the start that the customer is the priority, only briefly interjecting with just enough information about your business to pique the customer’s interest (known as click bait in the online world). Then, turn all discussions back to the customer’s specific needs, wants, desires, goals and pain points, and offer customized solutions based on this information.
Speak Multiple Languages
Focusing on a laundry list of features and benefits is a natural starting point for many sales professionals and might have its place somewhere in the sales process, but as an education tactic, it misses the mark. Customers want to know what’s in it for them. Customizing your language with this end in mind keeps the customer’s purchasing motivation and desire for return on investment at the forefront of the transaction. It also clearly communicates the relationship is more important than the sale, which increases the likelihood the customer will stay with your business for the long haul.
Conduct the Symphony
In the orchestra world, the conductor provides clear direction and guidance to the musicians and ensures they are playing from the same page of music. In the sales world, the sales professional is the conductor, and the prospect is the musician. Keeping this analogy in mind ensures the education you provide is designed to provide clear direction and guidance to the customer about how and why the proposed solution effectively addresses the customer’s goals and unique needs. When you feel you and the prospect are slipping off a shared page, you can step back, take stock, and re-educate the customer as often as necessary until clarity and mutual understanding return to the process.
Education in the sales process is all about finding out what the customer needs and expects from your business and offering a customized solution that directly and effectively addresses these needs and expectations. Educating the customer provides the perfect opportunity to showcase quality design, meticulous installation, and diligent maintenance and to define the value provided rather than the price quoted. It is also a timely reminder each and every time that your business can be outpriced, but it will never be outsold.