A lot of sales conversations begin with a prospect by sharing company, product or service, or personal information. However, exceptions aside, leading with any of those topics isn’t going to create real value for the prospect.
Prospects don’t want to have a conversation in which the salesperson goes through a load of marketing slides. The onus is on the salesperson to instantly create value and use their time wisely. So, instead of talking about yourself or your company, the first step is talking about them. What’s their story? What’re their needs? What do they need to help?
Build credibility straight away
One of the reasons it’s tempting to go straight in with a pitch deck including your company’s history is to establish credibility. Talking about your company’s achievements and current customers may well give you a boost, but your prospect isn’t really going to get any value from it at this stage of the buyer journey.
Instead, you want to start the conversation with open-ended questions and then relevant insights in response. That immediately shows you know what you’re talking about, as well as saving you time in the future as you’ll know how to help them.
The best way to win deals is to make the prospect feel like they want to buy from you. A preference to buy from you personally is then followed by a preference to buy from your company. Neither of those will be achieved by simply going through a pitching deck about your company. The best way of making the prospect want to buy from you is by creating more value for your prospect than anyone else does.
How to create value?
Selling isn’t a one-fits-all equation. Every sale is different and there isn’t one way to do it. However, a good place to start is always with an open conversation. In order to create value, you need to know about their role so you can focus in on what they need. The conversations that create value for prospects start with listening, and then focus on problem solving. It’s about immediately providing your prospects with a new perspective in which to solve their challenges.
Starting with listening, you quickly establish credibility, but can also provide advice on key business challenges – which immediately creates value. None of that is achieved with a pitch deck. The more time you can get your prospect speaking at the start of the conversation, the better the outcome.
Value selling wins over everything else
Value selling, the concept of selling value rather than price or product, is what creates that buyer preference you want. That’s why prospects choose to buy from you over the competition. You need to demonstrate you care enough to truly understand what the prospect needs, why they need it, when they need it, and what solution would work for their company.
Brian Tracy defines the notion of value selling as: “Value selling is a sales technique that leverages customer anticipation of enjoying the benefits of the item for a sale. With this approach, the sales conversation focuses on how the buyer’s life will be improved with the asset at hand, rather than the actual features and hard-facts related to the product.”
Remember, it’s not your experience or your company’s achievements that closes a sale. It’s the value you provide throughout the whole buyer journey that will seal the deal. And the faster you can provide value, the more likely the prospect will continue the conversation. You need to nurture the value from the very first conversation, all the way through to the close, by asking the right questions and providing relevant answers.