Archive for Business Development

“Put yourself in a position to give your clients opportunities to say ‘yes’ rather than reasons to say ‘no.”  – Chris Still

How many times have you been in that sales call where the sales professional started talking about all the wonderful aspects of the product they wanted to talk with you about?  And, in the course of this conversation, they are sharing all the really cool features and benefits of which — they are hoping — you will find one feature that is of interest to you.

Effective sales behaviors and great selling outcomes are not dependent upon your ability to sell, position, or extol the wonderful products you are offering.  In reality, your ability to make your product compelling is the effectiveness with which you concisely focus a particular benefit of the product on a very specific customer driven problem and solution.

Effective product positioning is a process of knowledge, learning, discovery, and application.  Unfortunately, too many selling professionals are overly enthusiastic about their product knowledge (as if that is the most important component of the sales process–it is not). As a result, they find themselves sharing information that is of little interest or value to anyone but you and leads your prospect to say “no” more than “yes” in the sales discourse.

When it comes to presenting product and creating a “yes” environment the following process results in a more productive outcome:

  1. Knowledge: Product knowledge can be a good thing.  It is a necessary tool.  However, product knowledge is less dependent upon “what it is” and “what it does” than on what type of problems the product provides solutions to.
  2. Learning: From the knowledge perspective, your product knowledge skills are dependent upon how well you know how to listen for and learn to solve problems with your product.  When you understand what problems your product solves and know how to listen for customer cues regarding specific problems or issues, you are on your way to creating a “yes” environment.
  3. Discovery: This is the most important piece.  You have nothing to solve for unless you discover an opportunity, issue, or challenge.  Discovery requires your ears are open, that you ask great leading questions, and your customer is talking about their interests, habits, behaviors, and challenges.  Simply hearing for an opportunity to offer a solution is not enough, you must also understand the challenge in the priority of context – importance, motivation, concern.  Your product knowledge skill is demonstrated by your ability to effectively facilitate discovery through this open-ended dialogue.
  4. Application: The final step in the process is applying a feature of your product as a very viable option.  The challenge is to avoid advocating your product as a solution; but, presenting it as an option and how it can potentially resolve or address the problem.

Products are what our client ultimately receives.  Products are what we provide them when they purchase from us. However, the key to an efficient sales outcome is not found in all the wonderful aspects of your products; but, it is completely dependent upon how effectively you create an environment that connects a customer defined need to a product driven solution.  Avoid creating an environment of disinterest by reciting all the wonderful features of your product and concentrate on facilitating a receptive, interested one through your ability to go engage in a discovery process that enables you to focus your conversation on what the client wants, not all you know about the product.