If you like Owen Wilson, You, Me and Dupree is a must-see movie. At the beginning of the film, Randy Dupree (played by Wilson) is unemployed until he discovers his “ness,” the thing that sets him apart from the rest of the world. He argues that all of us have our own “ness,” and when we find it, we become self-actualized. So how does finding your “ness” improve your sales success and discovery skills?
When I ask sales professionals to talk about the reasons for their sales success, I typically hear them discuss trust, reputation, product, price and service. These are all good reasons; however, most of us have already made compelling arguments on all these attributes. We’re trustworthy. We’ve worked for great companies with solid reputations. Our service is first-rate. So who wins?
How to Achieve Sales Success
High earners separate themselves from others by utilizing a sales process that is truly different from the rest. They ask better, tougher questions and listen to their clients. The better you understand your client — their situation, concerns, perspective, business needs, etc. — the better you can develop a business solution that adds value to the company. Not only do the clients walk away with a good buying decision, but it also leads to future business relationships.
You will hear things from top sellers like: “I uncover pain that my competition misses;” “I step outside my comfort zone and ask questions that are uncomfortable;” “I engage more with the organization;” “My process allows me to ask for referrals well before I close the deal;” and “I lead, and my competition follows.”
In short, the big dog has seven different kinds of smoke, and no one sees ‘em coming.
The Sale Starts at Discovery
Without exception, the road to sales success starts at the discovery phase and it only takes seven seconds to make a great first impression.
In today’s business climate, your client is already 60% through the buying journey by the time they meet you (thank you, Google). However, the top income earners don’t assume the client has fully assessed all of the possible business drivers. The crème de la crème are always considering the client’s pain in relation to its effect on revenue, margins, operating costs, employee morale, customer satisfaction and retention. If you sell big ticket items and don’t monetize your solution in language understood by the CFO, you will always be high priced and your sales cycles will be excessively long. Most CFOs worth their salt will spend $1M if they believe there are $5M of benefit. It’s up to you, the sales professional, to make the case!
So, if you’re still reading, consider the following short version of today’s sales process:
- Find pain. Where does it hurt?
- Make the pain hurt. Monetize the impact on the organization.
- Understand your client’s decision process. Assume a committee of influencers.
- Establish the criteria for a meaningful ROI. Revenue, costs, business expansion/retraction.
- Make the pain go away. Frame your solution in a way the money boss will understand.
If you’re thinking, “This is hard. I’d rather just regurgitate my product feature/benefit statements and hope my price is right”, I understand. It is hard. The top earners know this and are counting on you not to follow their lead. Think about it…
Rick Myers is a licensed Advisor for Sales Xceleration and the founder of Sales Liftoff Consulting, LLC. He has more than 30 years of experience leading both private and publicly held sales organizations. Rick can be reached at email@example.com.