In part one of this article on sales processes, I stated that sales is like a jigsaw puzzle where pieces are replaced by emotions and events to make a complete picture. This article builds on the foundation questions we began last week and continues to build the puzzle with insights into additional questions.
What do they want?
Henry Ford brilliantly claimed that if he simply asked people what they wanted, they would answer that they wanted faster horses. Rather than simply asking potential prospects what they want, it helps to actually BE a customer or potential prospect and align your passions with ideal solutions.
Understanding them as a peer sends powerful signals that build genuine trust with audiences. Intimate knowledge helps you ask questions that spark better conversations. Ask about their challenges, needs, and/or problems in ways that are relevant to what you offer.
One thing customers almost always want is a complete vision of the solution. They can likely only put a portion of the solution into words. Often, answers will be in terms of what they already know (and already know doesn’t work). ‘Faster horses’ is framed around the known method of travel. Such answers are not to be taken literally, but as sub-conscious indications that essential needs are not met
Your questions and responses can help them refine the problem at hand and see the entire solution (i.e. you, or someone else) more clearly.
When do they want it?
It seems counter-productive to try drinking from, or even watering a garden with a fire hose. It can be tempting to dump all our information and solution options on a prospect, but this tends to overwhelm them into not making a decision at all.
Part of your sales process is about timing the delivery of critical information to meet their needs and interests. It is about adapting your sales process to their buying process.
Besides matching this cadence, it is about delivering in formats they can use. Products and services for sale are only a basic level. Extending this to resources like budgeting, long-range planning, performance reviews, how-to-guides, ebooks, and audits are essential to building raving fans who receive maximum benefit.
This is clearly one of the most critical overlaps between outside sales, inside sales, new marketing, existing marketing, and client support efforts. Invest the time to collaborate share information as getting it wrong here can easily push clients away.
How is it delivered?
There is so much that goes into making a sale. Some think it stops when the order is signed. Be sure to put the same care into how the product/service is delivered as went into getting it purchased in the first place. Consistent branding is key!
I cannot offer any hard-set rules, other than being consistent. Individual people are the driving force behind your brand. Attitude is far more important than appearance. Delivery, service, and instal personnel often serve as critical intermediaries between buyer and seller. They can provide critical information back to all departments as to the performance, reliability, and packaging of products and services of all types. The best sales processes find ways to incorporate this feedback into their systems.
Like what you read here? Share it with others or leave a comment below. Better yet, let’s start a conversation about how we can build or update your sales processes.