Recently we wrote about how salespeople tend to launch right into talking about their own products and services, without taking the time to listen to the buyer.
But what exactly does it mean to listen to the buyer? And what information should salespeople be looking for while listening?
The following blurb from Anthony Iannarino at TheSalesBlog.com gives, in the course of pointing out the keys to being a better salesperson, the common answer to these questions:
“If you don’t understand your prospective client’s business and their industry … If you don’t have a common understanding of business principles, and the vocabulary, selling will be very difficult for you.”
All of the above is true. It will always be a good idea for salespeople to ask the old standards:
- What are the pain points companies in Industry X typically experience?
- What are pain points that my product/service can solve in the buyer’s company?
- What information can I give to my stakeholders to help them see the need for my product/service?
But we would also add some new additions to the list. Selling is no longer about jumping on the phone with one or two stakeholders, giving a well-polished pitch, and then following up until the contract is signed. The typical buying group has grown to an average size of 5.4 stakeholders. And with that growth, the questions Sales needs to ask have also changed.
The new questions that salespeople should be asking include, but are not limited to:
- Who is in the buying group?
- Knowing that I won’t be able to influence the whole buying group by myself, who in the buying group is best positioned and motivated to help me influence the rest?
- How can I equip this particular stakeholder to build consensus with the other stakeholders?
- What is important to Stakeholder 1? Stakeholder 2? Stakeholder 3? What potential objections does each have?
- How can I personalize my pitch to each stakeholder while avoiding creating rifts between them?
Yes, the need for salespeople to ask more than tell is more important than ever before, mostly because they need to convince more stakeholders per sale than ever before.
To learn how Consensus helps salespeople drive larger buying groups to agree, click on the orange “Watch Demo” button below.