Buying happens based on needs, wants, even the shiny object du jour. People buy for all sorts of reasons.
Think about when you are a buyer. You bring your own viewpoint to the table, based not just on immediate need and want, but also on your past experience, your budget, and your (rational or irrational) firmly-held opinions. With the wealth of information at our fingertips today, most people are well-informed — and well into the buying cycle — by the time they knock on your brand door. Your sales team has a golden opportunity at that point. But do you really know why that buyer is at your door.
A strong but incorrect belief is common among salespeople — many still believe that buyers buy because they like the salesperson. Not so. Of course, likability is an asset and it certainly helps. It’s a great enhancement to the buyer-seller relationship. But in today’s buying environment, there are a lot of other important assets salespeople bring to the table:
Research. You know about their industry and their organization.
Thoughtfulness. You’ve proven to the prospect that you are not going to waste their valuable time.
Technique. You’ve asked questions that help you gather insights about this specific prospect’s business.
Intelligence. You’ve helped them broaden their perspective and think about their needs specifically and in depth.
Logic. You’ve helped them reduce key objections and minimize risk of buying from you.
Efficiency. You’ve honored their timeline, fulfilled your deliverables promptly, and made it easy to buy from you.
To build a relationship, any relationship, you need to stop “selling” and think about the buyer, not yourself, in the selling equation. Why?
- It’s not about what you want. It’s about the business value to them.
- It’s not about more money in your pocket. This is short-term thinking, since a relationship of trust has a much more juicy long-term revenue opportunity.
- You cannot sell what they do not need. If you make a sale that way, it will be your last with that organization.
Take yourself – your experiences, opinions, knowledge, etc. – out of the mix, do your research, analyze the buyer’s past experiences, and find out why they would want to invest time and resources — and disrupt their organizational routines — and make a change.
Now let me ask you this: If you have crafted your sales approach around what the buyer needs and wants, can you then feel right about selling them a product or service that you know isn’t right for them? Probably not.
When you prepare for a client meeting, call, or presentation, check this list:
Is your desired outcome about you, or them?
Is your agenda more about you, or them?
Are the questions you ask more about you, or them?
Is your internal prep more about you, or them?
Be as selfless as possible in this process. Every interaction with the buyer should be about them. Look for those who can truly benefit from your products and services. That’s how you build relationships. When you operate as if you were part of their team, they trust that you have their best interests at heart – not your own.
That is the way to true reward.