Salespeople often get caught in a trap when trying to explain why their product or services are best. Here’s the classic scenario: the client or prospect asks a simple question of “Why should I buy your product or service?”, and without missing a beat, the salesperson launches into a rehearsed speech that adds no real value for the prospect.
They say, “The reason why you should by my product or service is because we are the leader in our industry” or maybe, "We are family owned and operated and have been in this market for over 25 years.”
What you are telling the prospect is essentially a fun fact – nothing that shows them how your product or service can help them reach their goals. The response to persuade with the easy facts is instinctual. But if you learn to employ How Selling and respond to “why” questions with “how-I-can-help-you” answers, you can create relevancy and generate actual interest from your prospects.
Change the conversation to "How"
Successful salespeople know that to truly be effective, earn business from, and deliver promised results to prospects, they need to change the conversation from “Why buy my product” to “How to use my product/service's capabilities to get your desired business results and ROI.”
Your prospects care much more about their business goals and objectives than they do about the fact that your business is family owned and operated. Having a quick way to describe your company and what it stands for and how you approach business is important, but it is not the most important thing you want to convey to you prospect. Here is a comparison between "Why" and "How" selling -- clearly one works better than the other.
How Selling: More Than Just a Tag Line
It would be way too simple to think that the only thing you need to do is to change the conversation from why to how and all of a sudden sales start to go up. In reality, changing to become a How Seller takes discipline. It’s a repeatable sales process that, if followed, will help you to increase sales in a big way. It takes time and commitment to do it correctly but the end results are not just more customers, but also more customers getting results.
The How Selling sales process follows an inbound methodology – understanding your prospect before connecting, engaging them instead of overwhelming them with a pitch, and being consultative instead of authoritative on the solution.
The How Selling Process
Find: Start by identifying all of the possible prospects that you might have to choose from.
Select: Use prospecting tools to identify the best prospects to focus your attention on. Inbound marketers know this to be true when they use lead scoring as a filter and outbound sellers should use an ideal customer profile as their filter.
Approach: The approach step is all about securing a quality appointment. In order to do this you need to use both persistence and professionalism.
Define: Determine what your prospect’s goals, plans, challenges, and timeline are. What is their budget? Who is the decision-maker?
Solve: Work with your prospect to come up with a plan to reach the defined goals. You are providing a “how”, making the process consultative, educational, and easy-to-follow.
Confirm: A How Seller believes in the No Surprise proposal. The seller and the prospect have worked together to build the solution and the proposal so that when the time comes to present the proposal the prospect see only things that they expect to see and has no reason to do anything but confirm the deal.
Deliver: Because you have taken the time to understand your prospect's needs and goals, you are better equipped to know exactly what solutions you can offer. Set realistic expectations and deliver on them.
How Selling turns a sales pitch into a conversation. By working with your prospect to how how your product or service can impact their business positively and help attain their goals, you can have a shorter, more fruitful sales cycle.
Matt Sunshine is the Executive Vice President at the Center for Sales Strategy, for which he regularly blogs. He is regarded as an expert in developing lead generation strategies, increasing revenue, improving sales performance, and providing sales and management training.
Originally published Sep 24, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017