Surprisingly, the best price and best value is at the bottom of the customer’s priority list according to research conducted by The Rain Group. According to the survey, customers tend to buy from sellers who are outstanding at the following issues:
Bring New Perspectives and Ideas
If customers could diagnose their own problems and come up with workable solutions on their own, they would do so. The reason that they’re turning to you and your company is that they’re stuck and need your help. Therefore, you must be able to bring something new to the table.
Be Willing to Collaborate
Customers absolutely do NOT want you to sell them something, even something that’s wonderful. They want you to work with them to achieve a mutual goal, by being responsive to the customer’s concerns and ways of doing business. Ideally, customers want you to become integral to their success.
Have Confidence In Your Ability to Achieve Results
Customers will not buy from you if you can’t persuade them that you, your company and company’s offerings will truly achieve the promised results. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to believe in these things unless you yourself believe in them. You must make your confidence contagious.
Listen, Really Listen, to the Customer
When they’re describing themselves and their needs, customers sense immediately when somebody is just waiting for a break in the conversation in order to launch into a sales pitch. In order to really listen, you must suppress your own inner-voice and forget your goals. It’s about the customer goals, not about you.
Understand ALL the Customer’s Needs
It’s not enough to “connect the dots” between customer needs and your company’s offering. You must also connect with the individuals who will be affected by your offering, and understand how buying from you will satisfy their personal needs, like career advancement and job security.
Help the Customer Avoid Potential Pitfalls
Here’s where many sellers fall flat. Customers know that every business decision entails risk but they also want your help to minimize that risk. They want to know what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in similar situations, and what steps you’re taking to make sure these problems won’t recur.
Develop a Compelling Solution
Solution selling is definitely not dead. Customers want and expect you to have the basic selling skill of defining and proposing a workable solution. What’s different now though is that the ability to do this is the “price of entry” and not enough, by itself, to win in a competitive sales situation.
Communicate the Purchasing Process
Customers hate it when sellers dance around issues like price, discounts, availability, total cost, add-on options and so forth. They want you to be able to tell them, in plain and simple language, what’s involved in a purchase and how that purchase will take place. No surprises. No last minute upsells.
Connect Personally With the Customer
Ultimately, every selling situation involves making a connection between two individuals who like and trust each other. As a great sales guru once said: “All things being equal, most people would rather buy from somebody they like… and that’s true even when all things aren’t equal.”
Provide Value That’s Superior to Other Options
And here, finally (below everything else) comes the price and how that price compares to similar offerings. Unless you can prove that buying from you is the right business decision for the customer, the customer can and should buy elsewhere.
Remember, in the B2B world, your customer is not buying your product or service for themselves. They buy from you to make themselves look good to impress their managers and peers. They need your help to achieve that goal.
Roy Harry is the CEO for Media II, Inc. The company serves the marketing and marketing communications needs of B2B clients with strategic communications planning and development of tactics.
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