Many sales people are afraid to use candour as a relationship builder with their customers and prospects. They have been trained to “sell themselves first”.
In this effort to sell themselves first, they have placed being “liked” ahead of being respected as a marketing partner. In their quest to be liked, these glad-handers often fear opening the challenging and meaningful dialogue necessary to understand their customer’s goals.
These friendly sales types will often take every answer they get in a Customer Needs Analysis (CNA) at face value. If a prospect claims they “give better service” than their competitors, for example, these sales people will smile and say something like, “that’s nice”.
True advisors have mastered the art of playing devil’s advocate during the CNA process on their way to building stronger client relationships and more relevant ad campaigns.
Professionals will explain to their prospects why they play the role of a skeptical customer. When the client suggests they, “give better service,” the professional will say something like, “I’m playing a skeptical customer. Prove to me that you give better service.”
In our Becoming a Master Questioner training, we train media sales professionals to enter into their CNA’s with phrases like, “Before I can sell our audience on why they should do business with you, you have to sell me on why they should do business with you.”
This candid and frank approach may seem confrontational, but handled correctly, will be the building block for much stronger customer relationships than the old “smile and pretend to agree” approach to CNA’s.
My wife and business partner, Angela, taught me one of the most valuable sales lessons I’ve ever learned; the difference between selling to a need, versus selling to a want.
When she sold Fords and GM’s, she sold to a need. Families needed a van to take the kids to school or a car to replace their dying relic in order to get to work. These were largely transactional buyers looking for basic transportation needs to be filled at the lowest possible cost. They did not look forward to spending money on another vehicle.
When she began to work at BMW, she quickly discovered nobody needs a BMW. At BMW, the customers bought what they wanted rather than being sold what they needed. There was a huge difference in the customer relationship at BMW. Customers were actually excited about buying their new BMW while the needs buyers were skeptical and nervous.
While the Ford and GM buyer shopped all over town and had no loyalty, the BMW buyers became life long friends who still send Angela cards and letters today even though she’s out of the business and works with me.
Do your sales people know how to build relationships to the next level, going beyond selling solutions to needs?
Traditional needs analysis and solutions selling are great door-opening strategies. But the cost of the cure cannot exceed the price of the pain in needs selling.
To build more profitable customer relationships you need to get beyond appealing to needs and become a partner in filling the wants of your key accounts.
Needs are largely short term band-aid… “I must sell four cars today.” Wants are longer term and visionary in scope… “I want to be the largest dealer in the county within five years.”
When you become the conduit to filling the vision instead of the need, you are on your way to partnering in a more profitable customer relationship.
Click here to arrange a free demo of our “Becoming a Master Questioner” sales workshop to help your account executives uncover what your clients want.
We had a plumbing problem last week and to solve our problem I went online to find the phone number for a plumber I had heard advertised.
When I called, the inside sales person asked, “Where did you get our phone number?” Of course I answered “on the internet.”
It all happened so fast, and the question was so loaded, that I didn’t realize until after I hung up that I had given credit for the sale to the internet, even though it was radio that motivated me to choose that particular plumber.
The interviewer never asked the important second question which is, “What made you choose our company over all of the others online?” and I neglected to go the next step and elaborate on the process that drove me to search for their particular number online.
In the old days, businesses credited Yellow Pages with sales by asking that same question, and now I found myself guilty of proliferating the “power of search” myth….I’m ashamed of myself. I never gave credit to the radio station that aired that plumber’s campaign; that campaign was the reason why I preferred that plumber over the long list of competitors revealed by Google.
In our “Winning in the New Media Economy” seminars, we are able to prove with actual local research, that the best S.E.O. (search engine optimization) is S.O.M. (share of mind).
Our in-market research proves that most people do not click on the first name a search engine reveals if they have not heard of that name. The majority will scan their search engine results in favour of clicking on a name they recognize.
We also use actual local case studies and proven marketing basics to persuade more businesses that in the electronic age, print is obsolete. All they need is broadcast to inspire and internet to inform. We have captured literally millions of print dollars from newspapers, yellow pages, brochures and more, in favor of our broadcast and internet media mix.
Click here to arrange a free online overview of how our “Winning in the New Media Economy” advertiser seminar could increase your local direct sales.
The propinquity effect is the tendency for people to form relationships with those whom they encounter often. The science of propinquity dictates that the more you come into contact with a person with interesting, entertaining or helpful information, the more likely you are to form a relationship with that person.
The days of “spray and pray” for broadcast account executives is over….you know, that was the practice of spraying the entire market with your “cold calls” praying that one of them would pay off.
Making more valid contacts, with pre-qualified prospects, will allow propinquity to kick in and grow your sales in 2014 and beyond. Our new SoundADvice e-marketing system for 2014 allows you to reach out and contact your prospects every week.
And our Pre-qualifying Score Sheet helps you determine the best prospects for you to contact.
Click here to arrange a free demo of SoundADvice and click here to view our Pre-qualifying Score Sheet to help you identify your best prospects.