Dr. E.K. Strong wrote the book Psychology of Selling in 1927. In his ground breaking tome he educated on:
- Closing Techniques
- Overcoming Objections
The most common objection sales people get is, “can you do something about your price?”
For decades a plethora of alternatives, techniques and manipulative steps were taught to sales people across the land.
Not only do these technique drive the customer crazy, but they also speak to the outmoded selling practices of the consultant, or executive.
You see, if you connect with the customer at a deep, visceral level and discover their pain, passions, problems and priorities then you will discover the measurable impact (negative and positive) that occur for the customer because of your interaction? You will become a consultant and a trusted adviser. What? Measure results and use those to close the sale? What a novel idea.
At a recent presentation to the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants, we explored new selling tools that make the consultant a trusted adviser by asking the four types of questions that the customer needs to work though. Briefly those are:
- Environmental – “Dear Mr. Customer. Can you tell me about your environment? How many years have you worked here? How many people report to you? What kind of things do you make and sell? “
- Problems – “Dear Mr. Customer, what are the biggest challenges with your work? What problems are on your plate?”
- Results – “Dear. Mr. Customer. Those challenges and problems are having a deeper impact on your business. They are reaching out and causing trouble for other department, or are making you less than efficient and effective. What effects are those challenges having on your organization?”
- Solutions – “So, Mr. Customer. If you could come up with a solution to these issues . . . what would that look like?”
The IMC members of this chapter would be described as “wicked smart” and they quickly saw the value in a tool (in this case a form) that they could use to force them to ask these four types of questions AND look ultra professional in the way they diagnosed the customers problems.
After all the term for, “the doctor who prescribes without diagnosis” is . . . malpractice.
Next time you get the price comparision/price shopping feedback from your client, ask yourself if you were pushing too hard to make the sale, when you should have slowed down the process and dug deeper.
Maybe YOU need a form, so you will say less . . . and sell more.