After fourteen years as a successful sales professional, and six and a half years of training & coaching sales professionals, I find that there's one critical conversation that only the absolute best of all sales professionals are having with their customers.
I admit that this is not a conversation I was having as a sales professional, but it is one that every single sales professional, and I as a small business owner, should have on a regular basis, with each and everyone of our customers.
I refer to it as the partnering conversation. Now, if believe that you already know what this is all about, I invite you challenge yourself, and stay tuned.
If you are a sales professional, or a sales manager, this one thing, injected into your current sales process, could blow your current numbers out of the water - literally overnight. Bold claim I know, but stick around and you'll see.
This partnering conversation should take place between the investigation and solution recommendation stages of your sales process.
It's a conversation where neither the sales professional, nor the customer, is committing to anything discussed. It goes like this:
Sales professional (introducing creative options):
"Suppose we . . ." "Have you considered . . .?" "What if we . . ." "Would you be willing?" "Could you possibly . . ." "What would it mean if . . .?"
Or some other verbiage that get creative ideas flowing, and on the table, with out raising sales resistance, or causing the customer to shut down.
Starting that conversation can be as easy as prefacing those questions with something like:
"I'm not committing to anything here, nor am I asking for a decision on your part, but what if . . .?'"
This makes it safe for the customer to engage in hypothetical back and forth without the threat or fear of committing to anything in that moment.
When, and only when, the customer engages in the conversation with agreement, or some version of "well we can't necessarily do that, but what about this?," you know that you have successfully gotten the customer to invest in the solution creating process and partnering with you.
I've heard it said, time and time again, that "people support what they help create." If you're consistently getting push back, or objections, even to objections that you've covered before they've arisen, it's because your customer doesn't feel invested in the solution creation process.
Why would they buy something that is not their idea? We all know that nobody like to be sold to, but everybody likes to buy stuff. We also are aware that the difference between the two is who came up with the idea.
If you never engage your customer in a legitimate partnership conversation, don't be surprised if they disconnect when you recommended your solution.
However, if you successfully engage in that partnership conversation, more times than not, if you did a thorough job from the start of your sales process up to that point, you will not have to use "closing techniques" to win the business.
It will echo what one of my mentors told me many years ago: "If you have to close, then you don't know how to sell."
I have come to understand, since he said that, that it simply means if you know how to get your customer creating the solution with you, they can't wait to buy.
Start injecting this conversation into your current sales process, and then come back to this post and share your experience in a comment below. I'd love tho hear about it.
If you have a question about this post, leave it below in the comment section, and I will do my best to help you out.
If you would like to have me do a FREE lunch-and-learn or sales meeting webinar for your sales professionals, on this topic, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by R. Duane Huff