Outmoded Sales Approaches
We all are familiar with the traditional stereotype of the pushy salesperson who pitches their products, manipulates the conversation, and drives relentlessly toward closing the deal faster for their own self-interests. However, that doesn’t work in today’s markeplace. You need to become a more strategic seller.

To be successful selling solutions today, especially in more complex sales, experienced sales leaders know that their sales team’s approach must be more consultative, solution-oriented, and customer-centric to improve sales. The goal is to shift from a tactical, reactive, and self-centered mindset to a strategic, proactive, and other-centered mindset to help your customers to succeed.

Rethink the Process
You should no longer focus on pushing your buyer through your own sales process. Instead, you need to shift toward thinking how to adapt your selling process to their buying process. Your focus should be on guiding the buyer toward articulating their needs and their priorities and toward better informed purchase decisions.

Selling Solutions in Three Phases
If you aspire to shift from traditional selling to solution selling, there’s work to be done. You need to approach your customer as more of a value-added business partner than as a product rep. Here are the three basic phases of how to be a more strategic seller:

  1. Preparation
    Experienced sales managers know that a weak sales call is a lost opportunity and a hit to your overall brand positioning. The key to earning the right to take up your customer’s valuable time is thorough effective pre-call sales planning. That means that people need to do their homework.

    First, learn all you can about the company: their industry, market, competitors, products, services, financial situation, and challenges. Then learn all you can about the individual target buyer, as well as relevant stakeholders and decision makers. Use multiple research tools including the internet, industry experts, trade articles, and knowledgeable contacts.
  2. Discovery
    Build out a list of open-ended sales questions that will help your customer identify, share, and expand on their needs and priorities. But don’t go by script. To truly engage the buyer, you will need to listen carefully.

    Follow up with clarifying questions and rephrase to make sure you have an accurate understanding. Remember, this is a customer-centric approach. Follow your customer’s lead in order to uncover both known and unknown goals, problems and needs.
  3. Solution Agreement
    Ideally, you and your customer will have arrived at a solution together that addresses their key needs and top priorities. This implies a partnering and problem solving relationship rather than a more traditional buyer-seller interaction.

    Your understanding of how to help your customer and your commitment to their success is what makes a satisfactory “close” that is a win for both parties.

The Bottom Line
The way you engage with your customers defines your sales role. If you are willing to put in the time and if you are determined to align with the customer’s priorities and buying process, you will benefit from a more rewarding sale and gain a loyal customer.

To learn more about how to be a more strategic seller, download The Top 30 Most Effective Sales Questions in the Eyes of Your Buyers

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