What is the key to winning a sales opportunity? Is it building rapport, trust, or solving business problems or it is a combination of all of these factors? You guessed it…all three.
Building rapport is the first step in building a relationship with a prospect. Without rapport, you don’t have a shot of winning any business.
Building rapport starts with finding something in common. Did you attend the same university? Did you grow up in the same neighborhood? Do you both play the same sport? Have you vacationed at the same destination? Are they active on social media – like Twitter? Did they write an interesting article on LinkedIn? If they have, comment about the article. It would be a great way to get a conversation going.
If you are able to get an in-person meeting, look around the office. What do you see — pictures, awards, a golf club? Ask a question about anyone if the items you see. If you see a photo of people on a sunny beach, ask them where they vacationed? Get your prospect engaged in a conversation. If you express a sincere interest, most people are open to talking about themselves. This is the fastest way to build rapport.
Once you built rapport, it’s time to move your prospect down the buyer’s journey. I’ve been consulting for years. I have learned most businesses have more than one problem. If you are able to uncover several problems, the goal is to determine which problem causes the biggest headache and which problems are not worth solving.
Assume you determined your prospect has 4 problems.
- Ask the prospect to rank them in order of priority.
- Ask what is the financial impact of not solving the problem?
- What impact does this business issue have on other departments?
- Ask if there is time, funding, and leadership commitment to solving these problems?
- Finalize the order of priority. Confirm that the #1 problem requires the most attention.
As you uncover your answers, ensure you engage with key executives who have the authority to move your sales opportunity along the buyer’s journey. As a rep, it is critical that you maintain the business acumen to understand and elevate the conversation more on specific problems that hold back the company from achieving their business priorities. Most problems that businesses have are typically timebound and measurable — KPI’s.
If you can discover that the problems and pain you address will directly impact their ability to meet that objective and goal, your ability to sell your solution will increase dramatically.
Selling the Solutions
Experience salespeople can demonstrate they understand the problem at hand, provide a solution that would mitigate the problem. Demonstrate the financial impact using metrics that measure the positive impact of the solution, and the long term outcome.
Providing business value that relates to the business issue – managing growth, reducing costs, or improving efficiencies, will set you apart from your competition. If your solution can save a business time and resources, it’s important to show the connection and quantify the value.
Seasoned sale reps recognize the problems their prospects and/or customers need to address and why they are worth solving. They understand how these products directly impact the sales growth of the company.
As the conversation unfolds, be sure the prospect is willing to invest into change and there is an open line of communication with the leadership team. There might be a time that your prospect requires help in selling your solution to the leadership team. Here is where case studies will quantify the solution and justify the capital expenditure.
All of this takes time – time to do the required homework, adequately prepare for a call or meeting, and really listen to executives to uncover what is preventing them from achieving their business objectives. Even after all that effort, it may turn out your solution isn’t what a company needs at the moment.
But, if you can’t reach that conclusion and move on – or you can’t convince someone you are the right vendor based on value – well, then, we may have a problem.