How many sales opportunities have you lost to competitors who seemed to have the inside track? It’s likely the buyer purchased from their emotional favorite.
Selling goes beyond communicating the value of your products and services. Selling is also about communicating the value of doing business with you. It is about connecting with buyers and becoming their ‘Emotional Favorite’.
Success in sales requires three things:
- A viable product that addresses a need
- Timing – being in front of the right buyer at the right time
Some in sales claim in sales timing is everything; experienced sales professionals know timing is the ONLY thing.
There are a plethora of credible businesses with viable products. To be truly successful at selling you need timing - to be the first or second person motivated buyers talk to when they need something.
There are three simple ways to get timing:
- Sheer numbers – if you contact enough buyers, you’ll eventually find opportunities
- Referrals – someone tells you the buyer has a need for your product or service
- Become a buyer’s ‘Emotional Favorite’ – a motivated buyer calls you first
Value Of Being First
Being one of the first suppliers in front of buyers at the time they need what you sell is key to getting the business. Once the buyer begins to shape a solution around a vendor’s product or service, they become emotionally tied to that solution. People tend to make decisions and move on to the next problem.
What Is The Emotional Favorite?
Think about the last time you purchased a product or service. When you picked up the phone, did you call the person who helped you in the past? The person who adds value to your business or your career every time you ask for their assistance? Chances are you did. The fact of the matter is most people do. They make emotional decisions and rationalize them afterwards.
It used to be that people bought from those they know, like, and trust. To be successful in sales today, you need to go one step further and connect with buyers to become the person the buyer knows, likes, trusts…and want to see succeed – Their ‘Emotional Favorite’.
The emotional favorite is the person a buyer calls first, regardless of what they need.
Becoming The Emotional Favorite
So, if being the emotional favorite means being the person the buyer want to see succeed, how do you create this relationship?
Start by asking questions about the buyer when you meet for the very first time and at the end of EVERY sales call.
Think about the last time you encountered a ‘stereotypical’ sales person, the one who immediately launches into a sales pitch. How did you react? After a minute or two, did your eyes glaze over? As the sales person drones on, you stop listening waiting for an opportunity to end the conversation. Ultimately, that sales person falls to the bottom of the list of people you call when you need something. Not where you want to be if you’re looking to become the Emotional Favorite.
Asking The Right Questions
Obviously, you’re not going to start with ‘Hi, I’m Craig. What’s your greatest challenge?’
Start with open-ended questions: Ask about how the latest government policy changes, or shifts in technology has impacted their business. Relate their business to your other industry contacts and share some of your own insights. Then you can ask about their greatest challenges and you will likely get the answers you are looking for.
Frame your questions outside your existing sales professional to prospect relationship because by default, your customer will answer in terms of your products or services. Start with “Let’s forget about what I do for ABC Company for a minute” and ask:
- What is the biggest issue you have that you just can’t get to? or,
- What is the one thing you are looking for but can’t seem to find? or,
- What issue have you tried to solve but can’t find a satisfactory solution to?
Now shut up and listen! When the buyer stops talking, wait 6 seconds and listen to what they tell you next. First they’ll tell you about the problem. If you don’t interrupt them, they will tell you how the problem impacts them and the rest of their organization.
Now you have the enough information to connect the buyer with a solution and if it’s not available through you perhaps you know a colleague who can solve the problem. If you don’t know a colleague who can solve the problem, connect the buyer with a trusted seller using a lead exchange that has a rating system for the vendors in the exchange.
What Are The Benefits Of Asking The Right Questions?
- You gain a better understanding of buyers and their organization.
- You will improve your customer relationships while buyers do not need what you sell.
- You will get more time with buyers
- You may learn of opportunities to sell
- You can become the person buyers want to see succeed, by connecting them with trusted vendors who can provide the solution they are looking for
Most customers don’t tell you of needs they think are unrelated to what you sell. When you ask the right questions, you learn of opportunities to add value to buyers, become the person they want to see succeed, and get called first when they want what you sell.