Three Steps to Solutions Based Selling Sucess
The Championships, Wimbledon ... the oldest and one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. But what exactly is the fascination of watching Wimbledon?
Of course, it's the chance to see the world's elite play with power, finesse, and speed.
But when it boils down to it, it's knowing that the winner will be the one who gets the ball back over the net more often.
Hold that thought. Let's talk about selling professionally.
When you're selling in a solutions based way, more often than not, the potential buyer is playing a tennis game with you.
They will serve objections at you, and even try to ace you with the odd curved ball.
Why? It's not because they don't want to buy. It's because they aren't yet convinced that you have the solution!
There can be any number of reasons why a prospect won't say "yes" ... sometimes it's due to real concerns, very often it's fear of the unknown, or budgetary concerns, or timing.
And as "selling wisdom" tells us, we need to probe for those reasons.
Nothing new in that. The only problem is, few sales people know how to effectively handle objections, and how to probe, whilst staying on the same side as the prospect in finding the solution.
Instead, they "fight" the objection with facts about the product or service ... slipping into "motor mouth mode" to just "talk" their way to a sale. And it never works.
Three Simple Skills
Yet, any competent sales person can handle all of those objections and fears ... with the smoothness and skill of a Wimbledon player.
The key is to gently hit the objection back into the prospects court using three simple but very powerful steps:
- Acknowledge the objection with a "positive stroke"
- Set the scene for probing that objection with a benefit to the prospect
- Ask a question
Is that all? Actually, yes! But it is one of the most valuable, and least used skills in solutions based selling.
Let's take an example.
Let's say a prospect has objected to the price, and said they have two cheaper quotes:
Salesperson: "Well, you only get what you pay for John. And this model has the carbon head overlocker and Teflon sleeve pistons. As well, it has been the biggest seller in Europe for the last six years."
Seriously, how do you think the prospect will take this?
Most likely, it'll get their back up and they'll just pull down the shutters, and get more negative. It's hardly playing for a win-win. Let's see how the three simple skills can be brought into play:
Salesperson: "I'm glad you asked about the price John. It's a fair question and one we get asked often ... (Acknowledgement of the objection ... and then a "positive stroke" ... namely "it's a fair question".)
"My objective is to make sure you get the right solution, and this product may not be the one ... To help me understand exactly what it is you are looking for ... (Here the sales person has set the scene for probing, and given definite benefits ... "to make sure you get exactly what it is you are looking for ..."
And then the third simple step is seamless: "Tell me, ... (and then ask probing questions!)
Just like a smooth tennis swing, the objection, which in the first scenario, was heading for disaster, is now on track to become a collaborative problem solving exercise.
Do you know, our experience with dozens of sales teams is this ... most do not have the skills to handle objections in a non-combative way.
Most do not role-play, on any regular basis, the powerful probing skills. Most blame a host of other reasons why they didn't get a sale ... oblivious to the fact that, if they simply used these skills proficiently, they'd dramatically increase their sales conversion rates.
Of course, we could write reams on just what "positive strokes" can be used in step one ... and on the specific wording for step two, but that is going to vary depending on the product and the industry.
Be aware however, that if your sales people use this 3 point process with every objection, then they'll be a pleasure to watch ... just like those elite players at Wimbledon. And they'll bring home more trophies.
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