As a B2B sales person, one of the most difficult – yet most crucial – challenges you face is gaining a strong commitment from a buyer to progress a sale towards a close that meets your own and your company’s expectations.
To be successful, every meeting you attend, every email you send and every call you make must directly contribute towards moving the sale forward to the next milestone in the sales campaign.
Here are 6 quick sales tips that can help you move your sales in the right direction when working in a commercial environment.
1. Uncover buyer needs and desires
Uncovering a buyer’s needs and desires is crucial to the progression of any sale. Failure to do this will prevent you from identifying and solving the buyer’s wider problems. In turn, uncovering needs and desires will help you to maximise value for the buyer.
To uncover these needs and desires, ask open questions about the customer’s world. This will get the customer to open up about their pressures, problems and desires for improvement. Make sure that you actively listen to the buyer’s responses and probe any opportunity to align these needs and desires with one of your solutions.
2. Create urgency
After uncovering the buyer’s needs and desires, you should be in a great position to establish a compelling event that creates a real sense of urgency in the buyer’s mind to progress the sale.
The key is to make sure that the compelling event (or pressure) is external to the buyer’s control. It needs to be something that keeps the buyer awake at night, something that cannot be solved through internal changes, and something that will not go away if ignored.
To achieve this, you should ask probing questions that make the buyer wallow in the implications of ‘doing nothing’. By funnelling from open questions – that expose the buyer’s needs and desires – to probing questions – that make the buyer wallow in the implications of ‘doing nothing’ – you will create a real sense of urgency for your solution.
Funnelling from open to probing questions is a natural process that should result in a joint commitment from both sides (i.e. from the sales person AND the buyer) to commit resources to moving the project forward and ensuring that a solution is put in place that aligns with the customer’s own pressures.
3. Start with the implementation of the solution and plan backwards
Having created urgency in the buyer’s mind, you should then get the customer to buy-in to the key milestones and actions that you believe are necessary to moving the sale forward.
To maintain the momentum of the sale, this should be done by discussing the implementation of your solution in relation to the customer’s needs and desires and planning the key milestones backwards. This should create more urgency because it will further align your solution with the buyer’s pressures, while making the buyer (and you) realise the key milestones that need to be achieved to successfully implement the solution.
4. Gain a commitment to work together to meet the buyer’s deadlines
Remember to constantly remind the customer of their external pressures and the implications of not responding to these pressures or missing their deadlines.
This should help make the sales process a joint collaboration effort that delivers benefits to both sides. At every stage of the sale you should agree joint actions with the buyer to take the project forward.
5. Get senior sponsorship and publicise joint agreements
Always know who the ultimate decision maker is that will approve the sale. It is crucial that you get his or her buy-in to the benefits of your solution as early as possible and keep up their interest right the way through to the close of the sale.
By gaining senior sponsorship and publicising the joint actions and agreements at every stage of the sales process, you will be able to maintain the pace of the sale to meet you own deadlines for closing the deal.
6. Follow-up on your actions and check on the progress of others
It is up to you to ensure that the benefits of your solution are realised and make sure that your senior sponsor sees the tangible value you have created.
If you can follow through and achieve this with a tangible measure of the return on investment you have delivered through the sale, you can be almost guaranteed that you will be asked to deliver more of these benefits.
Written by: Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase