I believe you have to teach your customer how to buy from you. In this day on instant information, consumers are much more educated. Well… at least they thing they are. The information that customer get isn’t always the best. It could be a matter of which company knows how to optimize their search results on Google. Just because they are good at SEO doesn’t mean they are the best fit for the customer.
What I have found from websites, videos and company posts is a one-sided story. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but the company producing this information that people use for research, only produces information that benefits them. They won’t tell he entire story about their offering.
As much as we would like to think that we are using the internet for all of our needs, the true reality is that the world still needs sales professionals. However, the sales professional has to change because the customer is doing more up front research. That is why I have develop the teaching model of selling. The teaching model’s main theme is that customer have to be taught (by you the salesperson) how to buy. There are several tools the teaching model of selling uses to help customers learn.
Tool 1 – Demos – This is the primary tool. You would think that this isn’t any different from a traditional selling model, but the big difference and what flies in the face of old school selling is that you need to demo early and demo often. Traditional selling requires you to do a lot of fact-finding and digging for pain before you present. The teach model uses the demo to open the conversation and get people in the customer’s company on the same page. The demo is used more as an instruction tool to kick off the sales process rather than a stage in the selling process to close.
Tool 2 – Finding The Why – In previous articles I have either written or talked about finding the why. A salesperson will need to answer three questions about their offering – What, How and Why. The challenge is that most reps will know the “What” and spend all of their time on “How”. The customer is left to figuring out “Why” on their own. There are customer that can do this, but even with them they may not get all of the impact and if left to chance you have left yourself open to someone killing the idea. Now, because these are tool, the material aspect of this section is to have a calculator, spreadsheet, wizard… something that helps the client physically know “Why” they should do business with you.
Tool 3 – You – That’s right, I just called you a tool. Sorry. I mean this in the nicest way, but you are the biggest tool in the entire selling system. The key to the teaching model of selling is that as a sales professional you are trusted advisor that knows your offering, industry and the opportunity better than the customer. You have to develop you EQ as well as you IQ on what it is that you are selling. Think about it… imagine a teacher that walks into the class and says, “Hi class, I am your teacher and I don’t know anything about the subject so I thought for the next 9 weeks we will walk through a series of questions together and find out what it is we should learn.”
Embracing this approach is a big leap. It’s new and it is different from any other selling system. You will have push back from sales trainers, manager and companies leaders. The one place that will love you for it is your customers because they will get what they want, be in control of the process as well as be accountable to the outcomes of the process and they will enjoy the ride.
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About The Author:
Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information.