People buy for all sorts of reasons. They either need something or want something. When you’re the buyer, you typically have some idea based on your needs, wants, past experiences, budget, etc. And, due to the plethora of information at our fingertips, we know that most people are well into their buying cycle before interacting with a sales person. But do you really know why people buy from you?
Many sales people still believe that people buy from them because they like them. Yes, being likeable helps. It typically means that you have enhanced the buyer-seller relationship in some way. But maybe the reason why people buy from you is because:
- You have shown the buyer that you have done your research, assuring them that you are not there to waste their time.
- You have proposed other alternatives or asked questions the buyer had not thought of, allowing them to broaden their perspective
- You have listened to their needs and timeline and worked to make it easy for them to buy, reducing or eliminating their key objections and minimizing any risk of buying from you.
To build a relationship, any relationship, you need to reduce your self orientation and move the needle to the other side – to your buyers – because:
- You cannot sell what you think is important.
- You cannot sell the products or services that put more money in your
- You cannot sell what they do not need.
However, you can take yourself – your experiences, opinions, knowledge, etc. – out of the mix, do your research about the client, understand their past experiences, and get to know why they would want to invest the time, money and resources to disrupt their and their staff’s routines to make a change.
If you have oriented your sales process around what the buyer needs or wants, then could you truly sell them a product or service that you think is important knowing it is not important to them? Probably not.
When you prepare for a client meeting, call, or presentation:
- Check if your outcomes are more about you or them
- Check if your agenda is more about you or them
- Check if your questions are more about you or them
- Check if your internal prep is more about you or them
Every interaction with the buyer should be about them. Look for those who can truly benefit from your products and services. That’s how you build relationships. They trust that you have their best interests at heart – not your own.
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter