No one likes to be sold. Establishing a successful relationship with your sales prospects isn’t about you and your company. It’s about understanding them and using that understanding to provide them with genuine value.
I recently attended a conference in New York for members of The Entrepreneur’s Organization, a global network of entrepreneurs. One the most dynamic speakers was Jack Daly, a nationally known sales trainer and sales coaching expert. Jack emphasized a point about the relationship with your prospects that really resonated with me – the importance of creating perceived value.
One of my favorite quotes from Jack’s presentation was – “Never quote price until you have established value.”
The first step towards creating value has to be a well thought-out prospect interview process. You can’t create value for a prospect until you have the answers to questions like these.
- Business: Do you understand their business, what they are good at and what makes them different from their competitors?
- Money: Do you have a firm grip on how they make money?
- Problems: Do you know the problems and/or opportunities they are facing regarding the products or services you provide?
- Impact: Are you clear on how your prospect’s current situation is affecting them financially and personally? Is it eating up a disproportionate amount of their budget or time, could it affect their next performance review or even put their job in jeopardy?
- Options: Have you determined the options they are considering? Have they started talking with your competitors, are they considering an in-house solution, might they decide to do nothing at all?
- Criteria: Have you established what they will base their decision on? Will it be price, customization, experience, etc.? What matters the most to them?
Be careful to remember that” value” is in the eye of the beholder. You need to know your prospects as people. What they value is very personal and can change with their circumstances. Do you have a prospect who will value time savings because they are trying to spend more time with their family? Is your prospect working on positioning themselves for a promotion so they need to show cost reductions? Is your prospect on a bonus system that will reward them financially if you can help them produce more revenue? If you don’t understand your prospect’s personal goals and situation, you are shooting in the dark!
True value creators don’t just jump into a song and dance about their company and how wonderful it is. Nobody cares! All prospects really care about is solving their own problems. You can’t do that if you haven’t asked good questions to determine what those problems are, how they are affecting your prospect and what matters the most to them.
Do you have a written prospect interview process that gives your salespeople a formula for creating genuine perceived value?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.