How many times in our lives have we been in a situation where someone was trying to sell us something and they were so far away from what we needed or wanted. I recall once spending time in a car dealership. We were looking to purchase an SUV. I am not sure why but the salesman had it in his mind we were looking to lease a car. So despite my wife and I mentioning more than once we wanted to look at SUV’s and were most likely looking to purchase, not lease, this guy kept wanting to show us cars and kept talking about leases. He wanted to sell or lease us a vehicle for his reasons not ours. The important lesson here is people buy for their reasons not yours and until you uncover the real problem or issue you will not sell anyone anything.
Think about this. In many situations, the prospect has agreed to meet with you or has spent time to come to see you. Either way they are looking to solve something. Your job is to figure out what it is. After building rapport this is the second step in the process. How do you do this. The key is to figure out where the prospect is now, and where they want to get to. This will establish “The Gap” or “The Need”. This alone however is not enough. You must be able to show your prospect that the need or gap is greater than he thought AND that he will be SUBSTANTIALLY better off with your product or service versus any other one out there. How do we accomplish this? Questions. Situational Questions and Meaning Questions.
What is the situation right now? What are they using, who are they using, how often do they buy, what is the price, quantity, delivery. Your goal here is to find out as much as you can about your competitor, and their product. What are their strengths and weaknesses, how does your prospect views them. Does the product they are using meet all their needs? Looks for cracks in their armor. Once you find one start asking “meaning questions” These types of questions are designed to “open that gap”
An example would look like this. While asking about delivery from your competitor you find out your prospect is on their delivery route once every two weeks. By asking situational questions you find out that occasionally this causes them to run out of product. Ok so now what does running out of product mean to the prospect. Start asking. What does it cost them to be out of product? How does it impact their business, what are the direct costs, what are the indirect costs? How does it affect your people? How does it affect your deliveries to your customers?
Get the wedge and start driving it into the gap and keep prying and keep widening it. All the while you are creating need for your product. Your job is to find what your prospect believes to be a small problem and through proper questioning help him understand it is really a large problem.
People are motivated by what Sigmund Freud called the “pleasure principle” They move away from pain and towards pleasure. Your initial questions open “where it hurts” Your follow up questions show the “magnitude of the pain”. Stated another way your job is to move him from “mild discomfort” to a “sense of urgency”. Once you create this sense of urgency you can start to present solutions to solve the problem.
About the Author
With more than three decades of experience in all facets of sales management, customer service, business growth, and staff coordination, Certified Business Coach Greg Emslie is a focused professional with the tools to help you grow and manage your business effectively.
Driven by his ability to implement proven business concepts and help improve teams, Greg affects all areas of the companies he works with, including sales, leadership, profitability, and decision-making. He focuses on improving efficiency and processes for his clients while helping them grow their revenue base.
Ready to begin finding other ways to make your company more productive? Let’s get the conversation started. Contact Greg Emslie for a business strategy discussion today!