How to Call on Customers with More Experience
Categories: Sales Conversation
If you are just starting your sales career, it can be intimidating when you’re selling to much more experienced executives. After all, how can you convince them that you understand their business, when they can tell you’re only a few years out of college? The answer? Remember the key tenets of value-based selling. They’re your best weapon against combatting the bias experienced executives may have against you.
Remember to be a successful salesperson (no matter your experience level), you need to articulate value and differentiation in a way that solves your customer’s most pressing business problems. Your goal in every sales interaction is to achieve that ultimate outcome. Go into the sales call prepared with key outcomes you want to drive in the call, but also be open to adjust based on how the conversation progresses. Be curious and intrigued on what issues the company is facing and what positive business outcomes your buyers are trying to achieve. Then, when you find the problem, you can best articulate how you can help. Do it too early and you'll be seen as just another demo pusher.
Here are five things you can do now to ensure you have a successful sales call with people more experienced than you:
1. Don’t be a know it all
This tip may seem obvious, but is especially true for a greener rep. If you're buyer is seasoned, you want to show empathy not cockiness. One of the most frequent complaints buyers have with sellers in general is that they do not listen, and they don’t understand their business. We call that the Seller Deficit Disorder. Not listening to the buyers shows them that you’re not interested in knowing what problems they are dealing with and that you’re only there to sell them your product, not a real solution. You likely have heard the same comments before from other prospects. Learn how to overcome this disorder early in your career by truly listening and articulating what you heard back to your customer. Show empathy and understanding. Actively listen and don’t assume you know the challenge before they’ve actually told you.
2. Understand your buyer's problems
Greener reps often get stuck in stalled deals because they’re progressing opportunities without identifying a big enough business problem that compels a buyer to action. Remember that you cannot help a customer without understanding the business impacts of the problem facing your customer. Execute effective discovery to uncover customer pain points. Then, dig deeper and understand the negative consequences of those problems. How big of an impact are those issues making on the business? Without that negative impact, you’ll have difficulty moving the deal forward.
3. Help your buyers define what they need in a solution
Find ways to get your buyer to see that you’re there to help them solve their business problems, not just to sell your products like any other vendor. To get your buyers to see you as pivotal to helping them reach their positive business outcomes (PBOs), you need to first understand your buyer's problems and desired future state. How can you help them pave the way in order to get there? What do they need in a solution to achieve their positive business outcomes? More often than not, buyers know their current state and their desired future state but are unsure what they need in a solution to get from point A to point B. That is exactly where you come in. Help a buyer define their “required capabilities” of a solution implementation, so then you can influence those capabilities with your solution’s differentiation. Required capabilities are what define the specific requirements that are necessary to achieve your buyer's PBOs. They are the foundation of the buyer’s decision criteria. Learning how to help buyers define required capabilities will take you from green to elite, fast. Focus on helping your buyers outline their required capabilities and understand what is needed in a solution to solve their business problems. Helping your buyer map out the required capabilities helps you be an asset in solving the problems. Experienced buyers will appreciate your support in helping them think through how they can get from their current state to their PBOs.
4. Be audible-ready
For greener reps, it can be a challenge to adjust course when your buyer shares something you were not expecting or even just something new. Every conversation may present something that's new to you. Learn how to adapt on the fly to these challenges and use them as opportunities to move your deal forward effectively. We call this adaptability being “Audible-Ready”, meaning, you have the ability to react effectively to what your buyer says in the sales conversation. Improve your ability to be audible-ready so that throughout sales calls you can demonstrate the value of your solution and how it will positively benefit your buyers.
5. Show credibility with testimonials
In order to strengthen the importance of how your solution produces the results you promised your buyer, provide tangible points of reference. Just like how people say your actions speak louder than words, it applies the same way in a sales conversation. Remember, in a sales conversation, you can talk all you want about how your product is more beneficial than any other sellers', but putting evidence behind your words helps to validate the truth and the value of your product. As a new seller, it can be difficult to understand when and how to leverage proof points in your sales conversations. Make sure you know when to use proof points in your sales process, consider asking more experienced reps on your team for advice on the when. Next, be sure you know your proof points by heart so you know which ones will be relevant to your current prospects and sales conversation.
Remember the Fundamentals of Great Selling
It’s normal to feel intimidated when starting out selling to experienced buyers. Remember, preparation creates confidence. It can be hard to work on improving your skills while you’re in the flurry to hit your number. We’ve all been there, which is why we created the Audible-Ready Sales Podcast. Subscribe for weekly episodes on sales best practices and timely tactics to incorporate into your live opportunities.