I just had a sales conversation which made my day. Even better: it was during a first discovery call. That means the prospect can make my day again when they select my offer. And maybe more times after that.
During a video call, I asked him a question. He leaned back a little and paused for a beat…then spoke. “What an insightful question…”, and he paused again, before sharing things with me that he hadn’t thought to tell any of my competitors. For a true sales professional, that moment is magic.
Those words mean my work and preparation has paid off. They mean I’ve added value to his decision process. They made my day, as they should.
Two of the Best Days in a Complex Sale. Hint: One Leads to the Other.
When you add value to a customer’s buying decision, you’re separating yourself from every “super-responsive salesperson” who works hard but simply meets expectations by answering every customer question and fetching every customer request. Remember, your customer is asking those same questions to your competitors, so answering them – at best – pulls you back even. That’s fuel to a purchasing agent; you’re giving them the power to grind you against a competitor on price because you aren’t different enough.
Contrast that to an elite seller, who:
- Takes time to understand the customer’s world before the interaction. This seller can have an in-depth business conversation.
- Can even provide an outside perspective on one or more of their thorniest problems: a great ways is using a key data point. These sellers help customers think of their situation from valuable new perspectives.
- Has converted product knowledge from the usual “differentiated feature” into customer outcomes, that align to a thorny problem the seller just helped them understand better.
Weaving all that into insightful questions (as part of value-focused discovery) takes some research and preparation – not all of which can delegated to even the best sales enablement team. Nonetheless, it’s worth the time and effort. When the customer makes my day, I know I’m on track to the pole position, maybe even better.
When you perform great discovery, then give a concise recommendation aligned with what you’ve discovered, you are selling the way customers want to buy. That first great day in the discovery phase drives the other one: when the customer buys.
How Does Insight Shape the Buying Journey?
Sure, purchasing’s process formal still requires most of us to participate in the (commonly) three-way “beauty contest” presentation. Just remember, the formal purchasing process isn’t the same as the buying team’s actual buying process. In fact, the internal buying discussions evaluating finalist presentations can often be guided by an influential person on the buying team. If your offer has meaningful, memorable, differentiated value…you influence that conversation without being in the room.
And, if you’ve built differentiated value throughout the process, somebody (or more than one somebody) will likely be advocating for your offer…which can lead to that same customer making your day a second time, by selecting your offer. They should also make your CEO’s day by selecting your offer at a price that reflects the higher value they receive. That could make your day again sometime in the future.
In the Customer’s Journey, the Purchase is insignificant.
Imagine a split screen shot with the salesperson celebrating a win, and the customer – at the exact same moment – getting nervous about implementation and accountability. The idea of “closing” is about as seller-centric as it gets.
Instead, if a seller (or selling team) took the time to generate insights and learn about key outcomes — personally and business-wise — that seller owes it to themselves and their customer to makes sure all of those expected outcomes are well understood by after-sales between-sales teams. If those outcomes are honored as strongly as any other deliverable, you are now in position to have your day made a third time…with a follow-on sale. And a fourth time…with referrals. Fifth time: when one of your key contacts moves on to a new company. And so on.
That’s A Value Multiplier.
When you add value to your customer’s life and business, they often find a way to multiply value back to you. My book Radical Value, was originally titled “The Value Multiplier” after exactly this effect.
So go ahead. Make my day. Contact me to see if I can help you add value to your customer interactions. I love making my clients’ day by helping their customers do the same.
To Your Success!