Michael Schultz, President of the Rain Group shared some great insights at Babson College recently on the topic: Mastering the Art of the Sales Conversation. He talked about three simple keys to successful B2B sales conversations. He pointed out how a deficiency in any one of these areas could easily impair the flow of a good sales conversation.
1. Buyers Need to Resonate With You
People buy from people they like. This doesn’t mean that if your personalities don’t match, you automatically lose. It means you need to connect with your prospect from the start. They need to be able to identify with and trust you before they can hear (and believe) anything you have to say. For B2B sales, it means that they must be able to agree with you about the issue they are facing and believe that you are intelligent, capable and prepared enough to potentially help them find the answer.
2. Buyers Want a Solution That Is Different From The Rest
It’s not enough to solve a problem. You need to solve the buyer’s problem in such a way that no one else the buyer knows of can. Differentiation can be better product, service, delivery – anything that sets you apart from the rest. A big differentiator I wrote about recently is facilitating the buying process. Many prospects really want what you have, but jumping through all the hoops to get it in house is incredibly difficult. By knowing what they need to do and facilitating their buying process, you can differentiate yourself and leapfrog the competition.
3. Buyers Need You To Substantiate the Value You Provide
Prospects know that if you have solved this problem in the past for somebody else, it should be easy to provide evidence of the gains they realized from your solution. The best way to present value is to show them proof that this worked for somebody else, and help them see how it might just work for them as well. It doesn’t matter how great your claims are if you have no proof that it can and does work as advertised.
Good B2B Sales is About Continuous Improvement
These three concepts are old hat for many of my seasoned sales veteran readers, but it’s a good reminder of the basics of what we do every day as sellers don’t you think?. If we intend to stay ahead of our competitors, we need to be constantly looking for ways to improve. Another friend recently summarized things this way: “stop selling, start serving!” In what ways do you resonate, differentiate and substantiate with your buyers?