It’s a jungle out there! And no one understands that more than salespeople who are in a very competitive business. They must constantly be on the lookout for competitors with “better mousetraps,” lower prices, more influential contacts with inside tracks to buyers, and so it goes.
However, we maintain that a sales rep’s most competitive advantage is in none of these aspects of sealing a deal. Instead, we believe in the foundational tenet of solution selling training…that if you truly understand what your customer needs most, your solution, persuasively presented in terms of value, should win every time. This is the path though the bamboo jungle to sales success.
Part of understanding what matters most to your customers is identifying who really makes the buying decision and how specifically the buying decision will be made. That means defining the customer decision-making factors that carry the most weight and calculating the value of your solution compared to other alternatives. While there is some commonality across industries and clients, the most effective solution sellers know that the parameters change with each client and buyer. But if you can figure out not only what they need and why, but how they will evaluate and decide to buy it, you will boost your chances of sales success many fold.
Here are two key solution selling questions to consider:
1. What exactly does your client want to achieve from a business standpoint? Why?
To successfully answer this question, your salesforce must be able to clearly identify and articulate the right combination of your target client’s strategy, top 3-5 priorities, greatest challenges, biggest opportunities, recent changes, desired outcomes, specific benefits of solving the problem or fulfilling an opportunity, how success will be measured, what caused the problem or need to come about, what has stopped it from being resolved before now, how the problem manifests itself in their business, how important it is compared with other things on their plate, who and what else is affected, who truly cares about solving the problem, and the value of solving the problem.
2. What is the buyer’s decision making process?
To successfully answer this question, your sales reps must be able to understand the sequence of steps that lead to a final decision, who is involved in each step, what each person can decide or influence, what criteria they will use and what information they need to make an informed decision.
Effective sales leaders provide a clear roadmap to help their salesforce ask the right questions to determine if they can provide their target clients with the exact solution to meet their needs. They know that the key to sales success is to go one step beyond crafting the best solution. You need to also understand how the customer will make the buying decision and what matters most to them.
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Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.
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We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.
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