At a time when sales professionals are competing in a highly dynamic and unpredictable business environment, it is crucial to tailor every sales pitch to customers’ specific needs and wants, and demonstrate some versatility in the process. Using a “canned” approach or delivering generic presentations, no matter how well-spoken or eloquent you are, is NOT going to turn the odds in your favor and help you close the deal. In fact, these methods could have an opposite effect.
Savvy sales professionals who learn how to modify their approach and demonstrate some flexibility, are well on their way to maximizing performance and getting ahead of their competitors.
A few crucial yet simple suggestions below will help you not only to win trust and drive the deal to completion, but also establish long-lasting professional relationships.
Pay your dues and do your homework
The more time and effort you spend researching your customer and learning as much as possible about their needs, the higher your chances of creating connections with them. Preparation is the key to success. Don’t forget that your customers also come prepared; knowing exactly what they are looking for and expecting you to exceed their expectations. Therefore, you need to investigate their situation from every angle, try to anticipate their reaction to your comments and practice your responses, while allowing some spontaneity during your sales interaction.
Make sure your presentation is a two-way street
Your meeting with a customer should feel less like a presentation and more like a lively discussion that revolves around his or her challenges. Don’t forget to include the buyer in your discussion. After all, to be compelling it must be a two way street; rather than engaging in a monologue, you should listen to your prospect, ask thoughtful and probing questions, show genuine interest or concern, and come up with detailed and highly-customized solutions. In fact, you should go into the interaction with an open mind and let the buyer do most of the talking. So, if you are listening carefully and patiently, paying attention to every word, gesture, or comment, you will be better equipped to adjust your sales message and make it more attractive to your buyer.
Nowadays, sales professionals are dealing with a more sophisticated audience that can instantly access the information they need and make smart purchasing decisions on their own. It means that you should never waste their time; every moment and every comment counts. Make sure you do not get carried away and engage in a long-winded and boring presentation that does little to solve a problem or spark buyer interest. Hit the nail on the head with a tailored approach and prove your worth to your prospect.
Know your prospects
Very few sales people deal with only one type of customer. Most sales professionals deal with multiple. While interacting with different target audiences, you need to determine what their major triggers are and what motivates them to buy a particular product or service. Therefore, your job is to clearly identify the key factors that influence their purchasing decision (i.e. price, ability, speed of service, reputation, turnaround time, etc.)
So, rather than blindly pitching the same benefit to different audiences, confident sales professionals should break down their target markets, define their traits, understand why they are seeking a particular product or service, and carefully tailor their solutions to their specific needs. This way, they are more likely to win trust; close more deals and achieve success.
Bottom line: Times have changed, and so have the buyers. You can no longer toss information at the customer, without gaining a deeper understanding of their situation, their industry, and their competitors. Do not present a story from only your angle. You should emphasize the benefits or the features that matter most to them and customize your approach.