We've got three sayings to help you.
Let’s start with, “See a need, fill a need.”
This is the essence of the technology industry—or at least it is at the genesis of any technology solution. Every computer, mobile device, web product, or piece of electronics started as the solution to a specific problem of a consumer or business. We also know that salespeople who can, in the minds of customers, make the clearest connection from the customer’s most acute pain points to a product’s strongest benefits are most likely to close the sale. So knowing this, why does it seem that sales and marketing nowadays have flipped that saying upside down?
Nowadays, it might go something like this: “Have a solution, shoehorn a buyer's need to fit that solution.”
In her April 27 post on the SiriusDecisions blog, Rachel Young pointed out this problem:
“Too often, need is defined as the need for the product or solution. This faulty definition creates a presumptive and myopic view that’s centered on the offering and therefore limits the understanding of the full dimension of needs that exist in every b-to-b organization.”
We've written a lot about the need for salespeople to raise their game, to become truly trusted advisors. To reach this status, we need to have seasoned answers, informed by deep experience, for the unique questions that customers will look to us to solve. But how can we give supremely personalized, honed answers if we’re asking them the wrong questions in the first place?
If you walk into a sales situation either a) thinking that you already know their needs and problems because they were in your sales training; or b) trying to shoehorn their problems and needs to fit your preconceived notion of their problem, there is going to be a disconnect. The customer will notice that you’re glossing over what are crushing concerns for them as you rush into your sales pitch. They’ll sit courteously through your presentation, and then never give you the time of day again.
According to Young, this problem is endemic in sales organizations, and it’s responsible for making countless sales professionals look out-of-touch. You do not want to be included among them. So how can salespeople avoid this trap?
That brings us to the second saying: “Don't make assumptions.”
You've heard the colorful saying about the word 'assume'. Stop assuming when you hold your discovery calls. Stop assuming their problems line up perfectly with the bullet points in your sales training materials. For the sake of your ability to connect and understand a buyer's need, go into your relationship with them with a blank slate.
The fit for your solution should be a discovery you make together. Ask questions until you feel they’ve revealed all the relevant concerns they have. Some of those concerns should align with your sales training. Some of their concerns probably won’t. Regardless, in taking the time to ask thorough questions and understand their plight, you achieve two things:
You’ve shown them that you care about their unique situation and have taken major steps toward gaining their trust.
You now have a complete picture of what their organization needs and how your solution can benefit it.
And that brings me to my final saying, attributed to some guy named Socrates: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
To learn how Consensus gives sales teams unique intelligence into a buyer’s need, click on the orange “Watch Demo” button below.