Ask a sales person why you should buy from them and likely you will get an answer of all the many features his or her products. Ask a great salesperson the same question, and you’ll get the value of what the product has to offer you. The difference is significant. How does a salesperson go from fair to great? He or she understands why the customer buys. Keep reading for tips on how to get there.
Many companies offer two types of training for new salespeople, product (service) and process. Product sales teaches you every aspect of the features you have available in your portfolio. When I worked in advertising, these products are the television shows I could insert a customer’s commercial into, or the digital products where a display advertisement could go. Training on the process piece includes teaching how the company software works. Depending on the industry you are in, this can be simple or complex and training is in various degrees. Both types of training are important in helping you do your job.
The third type of training, which many companies fail to offer, is soft skills training. Soft skills include communication, listening, planning, persuading, negotiating, presenting, attitude, and interpersonal skills. Each of these skills is essential to master to become a great salesperson. Arguably, training in soft skills is the most valuable type of training a sales person can receive, yet so few companies offer it. What do great salespeople do? They get it on their own.
When salespeople learn soft skills they tend to move beyond selling to understanding the motivation behind why customers buy. The difference in their presentations advance from features and benefits to value to the customer. Now, they are speaking the customer’s language! The best way to do this is to interview your customers to find out what’s important to them. Seems simple, right? Yet, most normal salespeople do not do this, they make assumptions. Often these assumptions are wrong.
Start the customer interview process by letting your customer know this is not a sales pitch, but a way that will help you understand the customer’s needs better so that you can serve them at a higher level. Make a list of 10-12 questions you can ask them that get them to think in new ways. Here are 7 questions you might include:
- Why do you buy from us?
- Think of your best sales rep, what qualities does this person have that you value?
- What problems did you have before you started working with me?
- How have I helped you solve them?
- How soon did you start seeing results?
- What do I offer you that is different from other vendors?
- What do I offer you that is the same?
Once you’ve completed the interview, ask yourself, why do you believe in your product? Why do you believe in your company? Why do you believe in yourself? If you want to really go deep, ask yourself if you would buy from you, and why or why not?
When you uncover the answers to why your customers buy and why you believe in yourself, then you can progress from offering features and benefits to providing value to your clients. This shift will catapult you from good to great!