You are Not in the
Business of What You Sell
The most important information in the selling event is the information your prospect has. The prospect has all the answers and the seller has all the questions. Most salespeople believe they have all the answers and they come across as arrogant and uncaring. Arrogant based selling is built on the theory that if we sell it, they will buy it.
That is why the prospect is always the best salesperson at the selling event. Let the prospect tap their information to help you build your own business case. To effectively accomplish this you must take a non-attached and non-selling posture. We put foolish faith in what we know. Give your prospect the space to vocalize their issues.
When you come to the selling event with a beginner’s mind, an empty vessel with nothing to prove, with a clean slate free of expectations, it allows you to honor and empower your prospect’s ability to seek their own solutions, answer their own objections and create their own conclusions.
By sparingly using your information, you create curiosity and a desire to learn more. Also, you don’t fall into the trap of being a fixer. And as women will attest, nothing will undermine your case quicker than being a fixer who is more intent on resolving a problem than one who wants to first understand it.
Intellectual capital isn’t created so much by what you know about your products and solutions, but what you learn about your prospect’s business, priorities, goals and critical success factors. Your product information and expertise only become valuable to your prospect when you use this knowledge as a conduit to uncover, discover and bring to the surface your prospect's problems in a unique and thought-provoking way. Only use your knowledge and information as a tool to gain and acquire more additional information. This way you allow your prospects to see their business in a way they have never seen or examined before. “You accomplish this by knowing the role your product plays in your prospects' business, their industry, their bottom line, and their own clients' business. You must become proficient in recognizing and analyzing problems in your prospects' company and how those relate to your prospects' specific job and accountability. You must intimately understand the functions, responsibilities and frustrations of the people who buy your services or products; not what it can do or what it is, but the business problems it solves,”says Jim Holden. It is more important to know intimately the ins and outs of your prospect's business than it is to know the ins and outs of your own product line. The old adage that the truth will set you free is relevant in relation to information. Work hard to get the truth (the right information). Most salespeople avoid the truth like the plague.
A new mindset to manage information is to believe that you are no longer in the business of what you sell. Being in the business of what you sell always puts the emphasis on the wrong party -- you. You are actually in the business of understanding your prospect's business regardless of what you sell. Software companies are major offenders of this tenet. Because they believe they are in the technology sector, they put all the emphasis on the latest and greatest technology advancements and breakthroughs, bypassing the prospect's business, their needs and critical success factors.
If your product or service has a rich and colorful product heritage, it may be initially difficult for you to reposition your mindset to stop thinking about your product or service as something that simply goes into your prospect’s business. Whether we know it or not, we all sell intangibles. Nothing, including physical hard goods, is anything but an idea on how to add profit or lower cost to your prospect's business.
“Every prospect you approach looks at your information with a critical and skeptical eye of, can this help me make or save more money faster and surer,”says Jim Holden. Moreover, prospects don’t evaluate your offerings in a vacuum. The big area that salespeople fail to gather information on is in relation to other investments they are evaluating, in other totally different areas of their business. Many times your biggest competition is the prospect investing their resources or re-channeling their budget to a totally different area in their business. “Capital always seeks out its greatest return,” says Jim Holden.
By helping your prospects look at their entire business in respect to your offering, you help them independently arrive at their own conclusions as to where they can get the greatest return on their time, their money and their resources. You develop a business case based on all the variables in their business.
Companies are quickly realizing that they are only as good as the salespeople who represent them. Because of product and service parity, companies can no longer expect sustained competitive advantages from their products or service offerings to carry the day.
Too often, the more information the prospect has, the greater the resistance and the longer your sales cycle will be. View your information as intellectual capital that has high value and needs to be protected and strategically allotted when the timing is appropriate.
You don't want to just get information for the sake of information. The best information that you can get is information that leads you to the truth. This will require you to ask tough questions and to have a very high level of trust and rapport with your prospect. Always be diligent in believing that you don't have a corner on the market when it comes to the truth about your sales proposition and sales offering. Truth isn't exclusive. It belongs to all of us equally. What is truthful to one person isn't truthful to another. Exclusive concepts of truth are delusional. It is very hard for salespeople to find the truth of a situation because they don't take a balanced perspective about another's own unique version of their truth. Salespeople generally are too vigilant in believing their own B.S.