Improving the customer’s condition.
In the sales conversation, clients don’t care about your expertise they care about improving their condition.
As an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for creating a customer. In the buying process, the default sales strategy for many entrepreneurs is put a lot of their attention in pitching their expertise and capability to prospective clients.
Naturally your talent, capabilities, expertise, product features, service quality are what you think will separate you from your competitors and win the day. The truth is, in the late stage buying cycle, “goods and services ” are only a means to a desired outcome–not the outcome itself.
Customers and clients view “capability and quality” as the ante. In most categories of goods and services, clients and customers have abundant choice. If you want to close more business, your sales conversations should always be centered on improving the client’s current condition.
Capabilities are commodities.
More than what you’re selling, clients care about something far more valuable–improving their condition. Or put another way, clients value desired outcomes more than deliverables. Whatever this means to your prospect, improving their current circumstances always requires a change.
Change for individuals (and particularly for organizations) is a difficult thing to do. To begin with, to become a new customer, they have to change who they are currently buying from. This is a tough decision for many customers. They fear change. You must give them a compelling and credible reason to improve their condition by doing business with you.
When you understand, from the point of view of the customer, what condition needs improvement, you build the necessary levels of trust faster and increase your power in the buying process significantly.
A sales conversation must never be all about your capabilities or your product features– rather focus your sales conversations on how you will improve your customer’s condition.
This requires you listen more, dig more, have more empathy and are willing to walk away from business that’s not a good fit for you. No matter how good and different you or your product is, if you don’t understand the client’s current condition and and how your value proposition will improve it, you won’t be around when the buying decision is made.
And now for the tricky part.
Prospective customers will not always reveal what their current condition is that needs changing. Often they don’t really know. For example, none one was asking for (or needed) an iPhone, but once revealed, the iPhone became something many could not live without. iPhone users’ current condition was changed forever by a device that revolutionized how they organized their digital life. The iPhone was not created to help people make better phone calls.
Likewise, your solution, product or service offer, once revealed, must resonate with an unarticulated-pent-up-desire for an improved condition. That desire will often be a hidden aspiration for something rather than a blatant need for something.
When your prospective clients and customers perceive your value proposition as a source of insight and inspiration contributing to the quality of their life, you’re competitive advantage will be exponential.
And like my iPhone example, when customers finally do buy, they’ll gladly pay more to do business with you.
Bring more to the table.
In every sales conversation, bring something of value and share it freely. This could be anything that is relevant to the individual and context of the conversation. The old saying holds true–“if you want to get what you want, help someone get what they want”.
Some prospective clients would appreciate more data or market knowledge, others would like informed insight and ideas, others are seeking an opportunity to advance their own personal condition. Whatever the case, bring something more to the table besides your product demonstration and your sales pitch.
Help your customer-to-be see a better vision for improving their condition!
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