We have all heard that as sales professionals, we should try to be consultative sellers…taking the time to understand our customers and providing the best solutions from what we learn.
Well, I am here to tell you that all of us are consultative sellers! So how do we differentiate ourselves from other sellers we are up against? How do we win at the sales game? Who wins and who loses?
The winner is the one who is a COMPETITIVE SELLER!
So what is a competitive seller? How do you become a competitive seller in order to outsell your competition?
There is a difference between pitch selling, consultative selling, and what I call competitive selling. Competitive selling is focused on performance under pressure. To be a competitive seller, you must sharpen your skills and get even better at the things you may already be good at.
Selling skills are not something you have or don’t have. Selling skills need to be developed and honed over time to win at the game of competitive selling, no matter if you’re a rookie or a veteran. Your competitors are constantly trying to beat you at your game.
In competitive selling you take on the role of trusted advisor. Whether you are initiating a relationship with a new customer, or upselling or cross-selling an existing customer, what you’re doing is you’re trying to help them, not just sell to them. That’s the driving force behind your interactions with everyone you talk to, every single time.
Today’s buyers are more educated than ever. With a wealth of information at their fingertips, they are no longer dependent on salespeople to educate them about products and services. Just as they are doing their own research, you need to do your research before talking to a prospect or customer to figure out what value you can offer them.
Stop selling without enhancing the value. Start helping. If you can master that concept, and I know you can, I am absolutely certain you will have no problem adapting the skills needed to gain the competitive edge.
Here are a few strategies to help you focus on helping versus selling without added value:
1. Show up prepared and put yourself in their shoes. Know the facts — what are they buying and what are they not buying.
2. Earn the right to ask questions, having a clear purpose or reason for your call or visit.
3. Start with a rapport question before diving right into what the prospect is or is not buying from you. People buy from people. 80% of the sale depends on them liking you. So instead of jumping in and asking about their buying process, stop and ask something about them, such as: “How was your vacation?” or “The last time we met/spoke you mentioned your daughter had a soccer game. How did the team do?”
4. Avoid assumptions. This can result in lost sales, especially with longtime customers. You assume they don’t need something…don’t want something…won’t buy something…because they didn’t want it or need it in the past. You shouldn’t assume nothing has changed in a year, or three years, or more. Avoid assumptions and just ask!
5. Have a plan! You can’t script a conversation, nor would you want to. But you can have a plan for the first three questions to ask as you transition into business conversations. You create the flow!
As they say: “Amateurs wing it…professionals plan it.” None of us can afford to wing it in today’s competitive market. Have a solid plan with measurable results. Execute that plan and be the first one to cross the finish line.
Make 2019 a winning year!