By Alan Graner
The following is excerpted from Forget Everything You Know About Sales and Begin to Sell Without Selling, by Mike Schultz, a free Selling Consulting Services/RainToday.com report. The complete 27-page report can be downloaded here. Registration is required.
Disclosure: Daly-Swartz Public Relations has no relationship with either Selling Consulting Services or RainToday.com.
Pillar 1: Building real rapport
Building rapport isn’t buttering up the buyer before you move in for the kill. That’s underhanded and should be avoided.
Still, there’s a fundamental need for the buyer to connect with you, or at least like you.
In a RAIN Group report on how clients buy, 25% of people who bought professional services stated there was no personal chemistry with the service providers. If such chemistry had existed, 86% admitted they would have been more likely to consider buying the services.
Being liked won’t win you the clients, but it sure does help.
Pillar 2: Uncovering aspirations and afflictions
Once you build rapport you can begin learning the prospect’s pains, frustrations, challenges. This is crucial because:
- If a prospects reveal their afflictions, it’s likely they will want them to go away and are willing to invest time, money and brainpower to make the afflictions go away.
- Each affliction you uncover helps you discover its true business impact (see Pillar 3).
- The more you discuss prospects’ afflictions, the more afflictions take front-and-center space in prospects’ minds.
- Uncovering one affliction may lead to others the prospect might not have considered.
However, if you only concentrate on prospects’ afflictions, you miss the possibility of generating new opportunities. Don’t forget their aspirations.
Prospects in the future-seeking mode look for opportunities to grow, make their companies better, improve current circumstances. If you discover their aspirations, you open up new sales possibilities.
Pillar 3: Communicating the impact of your services
This is the “so what” aspect of selling.
What will happen if…?
If a problem doesn’t go away? If you don’t meet your goals? What will be the financial and emotional impacts on your company?
Your ability to quantify and describe the “so what” picture is the cornerstone for how important engaging your services is to prospects…and how much they’re willing to pay. You must strongly depict what will change if they engage your services…and what will happen if they don’t.
For example, prospects may balk at your $100,000 fee, but in the context of saving them $10 million over the next five years, your fee becomes more acceptable.
Pillar 4: Balancing advocacy and inquiry
The key to successful sales conversations is balancing asking questions with describing your service results.
When it comes to selling, talking too much generates too few clients. If you talk too much you miss the opportunity to::
- Truly engage the prospect
- Uncover their needs
On the other hand, asking too many questions may make prospects feel they’re getting the third degree.
A good business development conversation is give and take.
Pillar 5: Envisioning the new reality
You must get prospects thinking less in terms of “expense” and more in terms of “investment.”
What sales devices do you use to turn prospects into buyers?
Image: Barun Patro
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a public relations campaign that helps increase sales, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.