There has been a lot of trends in the selling world. In the fifties IBM created the modern sales machine. Strong arm selling was part of our selling history as well as selling features and benefits. Then came solution selling. In solution selling the sales person asked enough question to where the client makes up their own mind. I don’t like the strong-arm part of our history but there is a place for knowing the difference between a feature and benefit as well as what questions to ask.
There is, however, with everything in business innovation that is starting to show a new model of selling. I call it the teach model. I was floored and blown away when a good selling friend of mine suggested I read “The Challenger Sales”. What I found was everything I had been doing in my sales life was a technique and skill. I just thought I was out on some island by myself.
What Is It?
The teaching model of selling is predicated on helping potential clients know all of the advantages and impacts to the solution or service you provide. The best way I can explain it is (especially for AP Automation) people have an extremely difficult time asking questions and understanding benefits of something they have never known or experienced. The teaching model of selling brings people a long at an appropriate pace and helps mitigate risk in the buying process.
There are a lot of differences in the teaching selling model that traditional sales people (especially trainers) have trouble with. One is in the teach model I coach people to demo early and often. In the teaching model the demo not only helps explain features and benefits as well as capabilities but it is a key tool in qualifying based on the client’s experience (more to come on that). Another difference is in the lack of up front questioning. Back to the previous paragraph, it is impossible to ask a question about something you have no idea. I had a colleague take exception to this point. He believed that with the right questions the client would eventually get it and want to move forward. I agreed but with most people, as I explained, we only have a limited time and asking someone hours upon hours of questions is not anything I wanted to do. To make my point I asked him to ask me a few questions about quantum physics. He paused and said, “good point”.
Only A Few
Demoing and question asking are only a few aspect of the teaching model. Stay tuned for more.
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