Manage episode 377516709 series 2952524
If we have done a professional job in selling we will have understood what the buyer is attempting to achieve and we will have concluded if we have a solution that matchs or not. Following that we need to explain the solution to the buyer and convince them that this is what they need. Japan presents a danger at this point. There is a ravenous hunger in Japan for data and detail. Buyers are super risk averse in this country so the antidote for risk is information and the more the better. They will suck us dry of the detail at every opportunity.
If we the seller are not in control of the sales conversation, the solution presentation component of the sale cycle will descend into a very long winded expose on all the nitty gritty details about the product or service. What is wrong with that you might be asking? Doesn’t the buyer need all of that information so that they can make an informed decision? Yes and no. They need a certain amount of information, but they need other things as well.
They need to know what is the benefit related to the nitty gritty detail. The deep dive into the detail is the buyer’s attempt to short circuit the risk component, but that in itself won’t get the deal done. The most effective risk reduction strategy is to do nothing and that doesn’t help us. We need to balance out the risk reduction with the upside of purchasing our solution so the balance of the presentation has to include these aspects. What can easily happen though is the buyer keeps trying to extract more and more information out of us and there is no time left in the meeting to talk about the benefits of the solution. The buyer is happy because they dealt with the risk reduction part of the meeting. The seller is not happy because they never got to the why they should buy component of the talk.
There will be key components of the solution which will have the highest priority for the buyer and if we did a good job in the discovery phase, we are aware of what these are. The detail we bring up should be aligned to these high priority items. After we explain each element, we need to immediately bridge across to the benefit for the buyer. We don't know how much we can get through in the time for the sales call and so we want to start with the highest value parts of the solution and the highest value benefits to match the priority. Then we move on to the next highest priority and the benefits attached to that item and so on, as we go through the list.
We should only entertain the highest priority items because if we are not careful, we will miss the application of the benefit part of the sales call. In this part, we talk about how they can translate this solution benefit into their company’s operation. If we only talk about the benefit, then we are stuck at the theoretical stage of the discussion. We need to paint word pictures so that they can visualise how the solution will fit into their current situation and bring additional value.
Without this bridge from theory to reality, they will not be empowered enough to make a buying decision. This requires that we have enough knowledge of how their business works and that we can paint those word pictures such that they resonate with the buyer. The quality of our questioning skills in the early part of the discussion is vital. We need to be thinking about and planning for where the application of the benefit will come when we are asking our original questions. The visualisation part is key for the client, because seeing it in their mind’s eye is so powerful and positive to help them make a buying decision.
After explaining how the solution will make a high value impact on their business, we need to find time in the talk to reference evidence that what we are saying is true. Buyers have been trained to discount what salespeople tell them, so they are always putting up walls around what we say. By being able to talk about a similar buyer in the same industry sector we can talk about what happened when they introduced the solution and what were the outcomes they enjoyed. Now this has to be real and just making up a fairy story is a fatal idea. If they want to contact that other buyer to get more insight and you hesitate or the other buyer doesn’t confirm what you are saying, you lose the deal. You also lose all credibility in the market and your name is mud forever. This type of personal and professional brand suicide is permanent and there is no recovery in Japan. Never forget that bad news like this travels fast, especially in the internet age.
Finally we add in a trial close question. This can be as simple as “How does that sound so far?”. All we are doing here is smoking out any objections, hesitations, confusion, errors in understanding and anything which will get in the way of a “yes” decision. This simple question will bring any and all of these barriers to the fore and then we can deal with them using our objection handling techniques.
We cannot allow the buyer to control the sales call or we will never sell anything. There is an art and science to sales and there are also structures and gates we must pass through the get the outcome we want. Spending all of our time talking about the detail won’t get the sale done, regardless of how driven the buyer may be to demand that detail. Yes, give them the key detail, but do not miss the chance to talk about the benefits, the application of the benefits and the evidence from another buyer, before going into the trial close.