How do you make a sale? Do you show potential customers what you have to offer, hoping that one of the things you show them will interest them? Do you tell them the great benefits of different machines hoping that one or the other items in your portfolio will catch their fancy? Probably not. If that is your approach, you’re not finding the level of success you could be achieving.
People make purchases for work to fix a problem that they have or they predict they will have. Perhaps their industry has made advancements that the customer’s current level of technology can no longer meet. This is the “pain point” of the customer, the thing that is going to make them want to purchase something from you so they can meet current or future needs, or to improve their profits. Usually, if a salesperson hasn’t found a pain point, they haven’t made a sale.
What Not to Do
Don’t go and meet a customer and go over your entire arsenal of goods hoping that something will jump out at them as a need, or as a potential solution to a problem. Don’t ask them to tell you what their problems are either. They don’t have time to sit through a sales pitch without a focus, and they may not want to share their problems and struggles with you in such a blunt way. You need to approach potential customers with a plan to get a dialogue building so they can share their specific needs, and you can offer solutions. This can be easier said than done.
If your portfolio has 50 items for sale, one might be the thing that will solve a need for them. You need to understand what their needs are so you show them three potential solutions, not all 50!
Do Your Research
You need to learn about a customer’s industry in a general way, and as much as you can about their specific business. If you think that this kind of homework about an industry you didn’t want to go into is too much to ask, don’t expect to make sales. But don’t worry, your competitors who are smart enough to do their research will fill that sales gap for you.
Or, you could fill that gap yourself. Subscribe to a trade journal, read blogs about the trade and gain a general understanding about what they do and what their worries are. Perhaps you have something to solve a problem that you would never have considered for a particular customer until you learned more about their work.
Another benefit to learning about some of the ins and outs of a business is that it allows you to know more about a customer, and the more you pay attention to their needs, the more willing they are to trust and listen to you. You may learn enough to say, “I hope that new law hasn’t added any expensive regulations for you guys.” Even if you don’t have anything to ease the burden of the regulations, the owner may tell you about it, creating a stronger relationship. And perhaps, you will have just the item to help make complying with that regulation simpler.
Listen More than Talk
When you visit a business or organization, you should talk and explain what you have to offer. After all, you asked that person to set aside a certain amount of time in their day to meet with you. But, you also need to listen to what they say so you can learn about their needs. They may tell you that part of the problem they have is the hardware for their point-of-sale business isn’t working the way they want. The person you are talking to may not be an expert in POS technology. When you listen, you may recognize that the program they’re using isn’t the best to meet their goals. Perhaps the hardware and the software need to be replaced, but by listening more than talking, you may learn what they perceive their pain point is, but you may realize that their solution will only cause a different set of problems.
Some view finding pain points of customers similar to what doctors go through. A person may go to the doctor certain that they have a slipped disk in their back. They think that surgery or acupuncture on their back will solve their problem. The doctor may examine them and listen to their story and determine that the problem is really a bad knee or hip that makes the patient walk differently and puts more pressure on the back. The salesperson is the doctor who has to listen to the patient with open ears and an open mind to find the real cause of problems. Then the salesperson can be a hero and solve the problem.
Keep following our blog to learn more tips for resellers in the channel as it comes to sales, savings, and more. If you have a specific product need for your customer today, contact us.