As one of the oldest professions, there have been many philosophies through the years about how to sell more effectively. While it’s not a new concept to sell to a customer based on their needs (e.g., solution-selling), it is a relatively new concept to sell to a customer based on the needs they don’t yet know they have. This is better known as insight-selling.
Here are five key components sales leaders should look for in understanding their prospective customers’ NEEDS:
Every business has a unique roadmap. It’s the way in which they carry out the core functions of their business. Before your sales team picks up the phone to cold call a prospect, it’s imperative that they understand the nature of the customer’s business and the innate needs that customer may have. When asked, only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs (The Brevet Group). Not doing your homework is one thing. The reality is the data is likely already there. Work with your company across divisions to share your collective insights into the necessities of these customer targets. It’s not likely they would ever even be on your list of prospects if you didn’t have an initial understanding of their core business needs.
It takes a wise guy to know a wise guy. As expert Wise Guys, we understand the need (and pressure) for business leaders to show innovation and enterprising qualities on the job. Perhaps the most important factor in selling to a customer before they know they need what you have, is understanding this need for the customer to be the discoverer.
Yes, you reached out, but it’s the wise customer who was resourceful in discovering the advantages they may bring to their organization through your product or solution. Allow your customers to show the initiative within their company. The decision is rarely left with one individual alone these days. In fact, on average, 5.4 people are involved in today’s business-to-business purchase decisions (CEB Global). By allowing your prospect to show his/ her enterprising nature, the customer, in turn, becomes the champion for your solution among the many purchase decision-makers.
Another key need for the successful champion is to clearly and simplistically outline how your solution can be effectively implemented. Sure, you know the plan, but to effectively sell it, you should put your customer in the driver’s seat and give them the “race car” experience. Allow them to feel the speed, the wind across their face, and the exhilaration when they cross the finish line. Depending on your business model, this could look as simple as a detailed case study or customer testimonial from a similar industry or it could be as hands-on as a demo or trial program. Remember: talk is cheap and seeing is believing when it comes to effective sales.
Keeping with the race car analogy, the car is on the track, but we all know this isn’t just one race. Selling to a customer involves understanding their need for direction beyond the first lap or test drive. In many cases, this could be the need for projections or ROI. Clearly defining and demonstrating how your solution or product will help their business to grow and gain trajectory over their competitors is a crucial step. It’s what ensures quality and sets the foundation for not only a more immediate sale, but also a long-term, trusting sales relationship.
Finally, the last factor you should never overlook when it comes to understanding a customer’s needs is their need to sell! How will your product or solution enable them to sell? This could be a direct sell in terms of a solution that furthers their operational structure. Or, it could be a metaphorical “sell” in which a sale is equal to their company’s definition of success or end goal. Consider how your solution or product will be used within the core functions of their business and be proactive in communicating how it will enable a win for their business.
Selling to a customer before they are even shopping for your solution or product (i.e., insight-selling) requires access to insights. Business Relationship Intelligence (BRI) offers companies and sales teams alike critical insights into their customers’ needs and experiences in order to effectively sell and build a positive sales relationship. Learn more at www.saleswise.com.