By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Executive buyers appreciate sellers that “set the table” with brief introductions stating the purpose of calls. They have little time and interest in learning about offerings unless they see some potential value in their usage.
Many sellers begin calls with (hopefully) brief descriptions of their offerings and then ask what amounts to:
“Are you interested? What do you think?”
Such questions are premature. Many calls come off the rails at this point. Transitions are critical to having buyers provide information about their challenges. Transitions can be easier if sellers give buyers context so that productive conversations can begin.
Some general comments:
- It’s important that sellers establish credibility with industry knowledge.
- Sellers should engage buyers in conversations early in calls.
- Calls go better when buyers talk about their issues before sellers discuss offerings.
- Before transitioning, better calls will result if sellers can take buyers from latent to active needs (business outcomes they would like to achieve).
CustomerCentric Selling® recommends using Success Stories to accomplish the objectives listed above. Prior to calls, research buyers and companies to choose likely business outcomes they would like to achieve. Next, choose from a library of customer Success Stories (personal or company-wide) that have the following components:
1. Industry and title that align with the prospect
2. A goal that you believe will be relevant
3. A reason prior to implementing your offering that the goal could not be achieved
4. The capability that addressed the reason
5. Results providing the baseline (where the customer was prior to implementing your offering) and the improvement that was achieved
After sharing a Success Story (60-90 seconds), the suggested transition is: “That was a CFO I worked with. Can you tell me about your situation?”
Hopefully this transition will lead into discussions about buyers’ business environments and diagnoses to be done prior to presenting relevant capabilities.
Relay races are won or lost based upon how well baton exchanges are executed. Smooth transitions from seller to buyers can positively influence the outcomes of sales calls.