The challenge in a world where virtually everyone has their basic needs satisfied is determining how an organization can stand out and be noticed.
How does it get tagged as remarkable and indispensable by their customers?
Today people are looking beyond their basic needs and are looking for opportunities to feed their individual wants and desires
They are driven to a higher level to seek happiness; basic needs satisfaction may give people a lift for a period of time but the luster soon fades (a new SUV soon becomes a used car).
In sales, if we continue to focus on what people need we will miss the opportunities that lead to competitive advantage and market leadership.
The source of untapped sales potential lies in the “secrets” of each individual that define who they are and how they want to express themselves.
A secret is an innermost desire that someone has: something a person craves, covets, aches for, hungers for, itches for, yearns for and longs for.
A secret has little to do with a need. I need food and clothing; I crave a pasta meal at Trattoria in Whistler served with a bottle of La Volte and I itch for a 3-week Maui vacation with my family at a five star resort.
Exactly how does a salesperson gather secrets?
Focus on relationship building with people you choose to serve. People divulge their secrets only to others they trust, have confidence in, and have a strong relationship with.
If you are an “outsider”, they won’t tell you anything other than perhaps what they need which will not give you the competitive advantage you need.
And don’t expect results overnight. It’s a long term investment; you can’t earn someone’s trust in a 60-minute interaction with them.
Don’t sell. Relationship building involves more listening than leading. The objective is to build trust by getting to know the other person better. It is not about you and the potential sales opportunity sitting across from you.
Avoid prying into personal matters unless it is a natural lead-in based on the conversation you are having. After the ice-breaker question, be guided by what they say.
Secret gathering isn’t about encroaching in someone’s personal space. Follow their lead by what they are willing to offer.
Lean in to the conversation. Show that you care about what they are saying and take notes. Lots of notes. It shows that you are interested in what they are saying. Remember that secrets are in the details about each individual, not in concepts or ideology, so focus on the tiniest fact that you uncover about them.
Keep a secret file on each one of your high value clients. It doesn’t have to be a complicated CRM system; it can be a paper file. The important thing is to capture the relevant information and to share it with others in the organization. Marketing and customer service would certainly be interested in your profiles.
Use your secret gathering capability to build your sales value proposition that differentiates you from your competition. They focus on client needs; YOU focus not just on needs but also the want and desires they have.
This makes you special. This makes you mate useful to each of them. THIS will make you a winner.
Discovering secrets is a key success factor of new-school sales.
Make it a heavy part of your sales compensation plan.
Make it matter.