Most well-managed sales organizations follow some type of consultative selling process. Such a process requires learning about customers’ needs and requirements before presenting a solution. Successful sellers then, ask well-planned questions and listen more than they talk. To do anything less results in ‘premature presentation’ – this creates buyer resistance and kills or delays the sale.
Our model provides a planned sequence of communication steps for sales interviews that ensures that you earn the right to present your solution. By consistently following seven simple steps, you can pinpoint customers’ needs and pain points, and fully qualify sales opportunities. Armed with this information, you can then make precise presentations, and tailor your solution specifically to each customers’ individual (and organizational) needs. By carefully sticking to the process, and not getting ahead of your customer, you will experience virtually no resistance when it comes time to ask for a commitment. We like to emphasize that “If you slow down the process, you can speed up the sale”.
This questioning process can be customized to fit any product or service – if you know the answers you are seeking. In our seminars we explain and supply examples for each step.
Question: Open, Closed and Leading
Listen: Active attending; not feigned
Observe: Verbal and non-verbal signals
Verify: Confirm, paraphrase what you hear
Explain: Describe your solution; be concise
Recommend: Tell them the next step to take – don’t ask
Secure commitment: Confirm agreement to buy or step advance the sale
The Explain Step can best be accomplished using our N-F-B sales aid below. This chart can be constructed during the sales interview by taking careful notes. Then, verbally review what you’ve written with your prospect.
Under Need, list your customer’s need, pain point or problem. Under Feature, describe compelling characteristics of your solution that directly relate to customer’s need. And under Benefit, clearly describe how your solution will satisfy your customer’s need, remove the pain and solve the problem.
By presenting your solution in this format, you demonstrate that you have been listening, and you address only the needs important to each customer. Your product may fill dozens of needs, but if the customer only has two, you can avoid disclosing unnecessary product knowledge – and more easily set the stage for the buying decision.