I’ve sold many a product and service in my time and in the last 15 years, have been coaching sales teams to sell all sorts.
The art of selling has changed tremendously in those years, and we often talk about the customer being in control, social selling and procurement teams driving down the price.
But there an even seismic change. In many instances we are no longer selling products or services to consumers or businesses. We’re now selling change. In his new book, Selling Change, Brett Clay calls salespeople change leaders. Now I’m not sure I want to go this far, but it’s quite apparent that we’re persuading the customer to make a change.
And making a change is hard in this risk averse world so rather than push the benefits of our products or attempt to solve problems, we should focus the customer on the change. Because it’s the customer’s reticence to change that will throw up the brick walls.
Here’s some great questions to ask yourself to see if you’re involved in selling change. As you read them think about a typical customer that you work with.
- What does the customer want to change?
- Why does the customer want to change?
- What does the customer really want?
- What is preventing the customer from changing?
- Why has he or she not already changed?
- What motivates the customer?
- What is involved in making the change?
- What will it take?
The answers may give you a revelation. Yesterday I was working with a sales team who sell a product to small businesses. Following the exercise, we drew up a list of the issues that need to be ironed out before the customer will buy. Rather than dealing with objections at the end, we were able to deal with these earlier. And the objections are all about resistance to change.
Remember our role is to alleviate the change for the customer in order to facilitate the sale. Pushing benefits and features is so 1990’s.