Do you work with your prospects to understand their real needs and deliver them something that will address these needs – a solutions, not a product?
Delivering solutions will not only help you gain the initial sale, but go a long way to developing a long term relationship that will improve the lifetime value of your client – and in most cases that can be worth much more than the value of the initial sale.
But does your sales personality allow you to achieve this?
Over more then 30 years in direct and management sales roles, I have seen four dominant styles of sales person.
- The Order Taker: Someone who waits for the customer to ask if they can buy.
- The Techo: The guy or girl who tries to impress on technical knowledge. They only succeed in isolating the customer who may not know as much as them, so by not appearing stupid just nod their head in agreement.
- I Can Do It All: A sales person who promises the world just to get the sale. These guys are in it for the short term and dump a lot of pressure on their support team
- The Solution Provider: This person qualifies and listens to the customer and helps them buy what they need. They focus on the customer’s needs, not the features of the product.
While each of these styles may have had their place in the history of selling, gaining and retaining business in today’s market is more challenging than ever. And as the customer remains the most important asset your business has, it is critical you become as good at this as you possibly can.
These days, the place of the Order Taker and Techo has been largely replaced by technology in varying forms (online help, call centres, online purchasing, forums etc). And there is so much information available to your prospective buyer that by the time they engage with you they can know as much about your product or service and the competition as you do.
And those salespersons that promise the world are brought under question much more than in the past as the market becomes better educated.
So today more than ever, to generate long-term relationships with your market and the greatest lifetime value from these relationships, you need to come up with products and services that deliver just the right benefits to suit the particular needs of that particular customer – you need to be a solution provider.