Q4 Sales Tips
Putting Your Best Foot … In Your Mouth?
Brandon has been selling lab equipment to pharmaceutical firms for 20 years. Whenever he learns about a new start-up company, he tries to get in front of the right person with his company’s wide range of laboratory supplies.
That’s why he is talking with Mariana, who is in charge of facilities at a firm embarking on exciting research into new medications. With new prospects, Brandon feels it’s important to credential himself and his firm. After all, he has a track record that competing salespeople can’t touch.
Here’s part of that initial conversation:
On the Wrong Track
It’s obvious that, with each effort to show his experience and capability, Brandon is pushing this prospect away. Yet, isn’t that what salespeople should strive for — to become the solution to the prospects’ needs? Someone customers can rely on for answers? Brandon was trying to put his best foot forward. What is he missing in terms of Q4 selling techniques?
Avoid That Blowhard Image
Brandon is right to position himself as the most knowledgeable supplier Mariana can get. After all, it’s true.
You should also try to put forward your strongest advantages. Perhaps it’s your company’s expertise or track record — whatever you have to highlight, it’s also important not to overwhelm prospects with your story, your credentials. This is especially true with reluctant Q2 customer behavior, where touting your vast experience may come off as egotistical.
Mariana doesn’t seem all that ready to engage. To her, Brandon’s behavior may come off as the typical Q1 salesperson’s chest thumping.
Spotlight Customer Needs First
So, how can you promote your advantages without being a pushy salesperson? Back off and build your initial conversation around probing a prospect’s needs.
Brandon starts by asking what model the prospect wants. That makes it sound like the sale is a done deal. Instead, he should begin with open-end probes, asking about Mariana’s goals. What is she trying to accomplish? Then, more specifically, what are her needs that he can deliver on?
Knowing this, Brandon can plug into his company’s advantages as solutions to her specific concerns. He can customize his remarks to Mariana’s situation on the spot. What might have come off as bragging or pushy behavior now becomes a solution to Mariana’s needs.
The Right Answers at the Right Time
In terms of the Q4 Structured Sales Call, save the presentation of what you can offer (Step 3) until you have completed a full Step 2, exploring the other person’s interests. If you do the steps in the right order, all of the advantages you mention about your products or services will be tailored to the prospect.
It’s fine to tell prospects why they should choose you, but first, capture their interest by plugging into their specific needs.