3 Skills to Improve Your Sales Conversations
Closing opportunities faster is easier when you tailor your sales conversations based on buyer needs. Sellers that exceed quotas excel at actively moving conversations forward by articulating value and differentiation in a way that ties their solutions to their buyers' most pressing business challenges.
Communicating your value and differentiation in a way that has meaning to your buyer may require a shift in mindset. Remember, you're not only providing product features and functions. You’re providing value that helps your customers achieve positive business outcomes that have a bottom-line impact. One of the critical components to an effective sales message is aligning the way you sell with the way your customers want to buy.
How Buyers Make Decisions:
Think about the last major purchasing decision you made (e.g., buying a car or a house). How did you come to your final decision? Do the stages below sound familiar?
- Articulating Needs
- Evaluating Options
- Mitigating Risks
Buyers typically go through three stages during their decision process. As a salesperson, consider how you are articulating your value and differentiation during these three buying stages.
You need to have a solid grasp of what you should be saying throughout the customer’s buying process and your sales process. Your ultimate goal is to lead customers to see the value of your solution over other options they may be considering. People typically don’t like to be persuaded. Your potential customers don’t want to be told why they should buy your product or service. The more you try to persuade them to buy, the more they will resist you. However, the more your buyers understand how your solution’s value and differentiation solves their problems, the more they will persuade themselves that you have the right solution for them.
Customers are willing to be led, but only if you can take them to a place they can’t get to on their own. The ultimate goal is to lead customers from their needs to your highly differentiated solutions. We call that having command of your message. Here are three ways to make sure you have command of your message in every sales conversation.
1. Uncover Customer Needs
The foundation to selling on value is the ability to discern what the customer really needs. As you move forward, there are critical buying criteria and factors in every opportunity that you need to uncover, as they will influence whether or not you’re able to close the deal. Those factors will be key to (1) building a relationship with your prospect and (2) quantifying the prospect’s pain points and business objectives.
You can’t uncover customer needs without listening. People want to be heard, and they want to be understood. The only way to show that you understand and genuinely care about your potential buyer’s business problems is to ask great discovery questions and listen to the answers.
2. Articulate Value
As you command your message and lead your prospect through their decision-making process, it’s critical that you keep your entire approach buyer focused. Relying on features and functions in your sales conversation often has the unintended effect of making your product sound expensive, and more than the customer needs. Successful sellers articulate value in a way that demonstrates how they can solve their customer’s key business issues, without oversharing on features that aren’t relevant to those issues. Articulating and demonstrating value in this way, makes it much easier to preserve margins in the final stages of an opportunity.
Focus on understanding the pain points that customers share with you and adjust your conversations accordingly. We call this skill being Audible-Ready. When buyers understand that you're trying to solve business issues, rather than push a product, the likelihood of closing the deal skyrockets. Here are four things that you can do to be audible-ready to articulate your value and be relevant to buyer needs in your B2B sales conversations.
3. Demonstrate Differentiation
Best-in-class sellers know how to effectively articulate differentiation in a way that builds a connection back to the positive business outcomes their customers are trying to achieve. Having a solid grasp of how your products, services and even your company are different and better than the competition creates the opportunity for you to show your buyers the value they can create with your solutions. Asking effective discovery and trap-setting questions can help you build differentiation into your buyers’ decision criteria and stack the deal in your favor over competition (including a do-nothing or do-it-internally decision).
Elevate Your Sales Approach and Your Quotas
Staying audible-ready, commanding your message, selling on value, and mapping buyer needs and decision criteria to your solutions are topics we cover often on The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast. (Are you starting to see where we got the name?). Subscribe on your preferred streaming platform to get weekly episodes on sales best practices and timely tactics to incorporate into live opportunities.