Why is the client still looking?
If there’s a problem: why isn’t it being resolved straight away? As a sales person, we want to distinguish ourselves from the competition. As sales and marketing people, we think in terms of specialisation and differentiation, but the problem isn’t so much the competition as it is the client’s resistance to change. Is there a “unique buying proposition”? In other words, does the client see any business value in your proposition? Does the client feel that you understand them and their unique requirements?

How do I know that the client knows that I understand them?

  • We can’t read minds: so the client has to tell us
  • If the client tells us they want to change, there is commitment
  • For them to choose your solution, the client’s perception must evolve from “Why change when everything’s OK?” to “I need your services or solutions”.

The client must change their perception. Are you giving them the space to do this?

Give clients the space to change their attitude. We spoke about having the necessary dialogue in the previous newsletter. Make the change as comfortable as possible. Brain research has shown that our desire to conform comes from the evolution of our reptilian brain. People associate change with danger and so develop resistance to it. In his book “The Dip”, Seth Godin uses this explanation to say why our society increasingly strives for moderation, and avoids or punishes innovators. Most clients simply don’t want new, better, faster…

Selling is a change management problem

  • Change originates in dialogue. In a moment of pause. Timing is extremely important.
  • As a sales person you can learn the skills needed to create a cooperative process, and so allow the client to make a decision.
  • This decision can either be in your favour, or against it. You will have to accept the latter; otherwise there is no space or freedom to make a decision, and so also no dialogue.
  • There is no sale without dialogue.
  • The sales person is therefore the decisive factor.

Still have control over the result?
Giving your client the space to decide for themselves paradoxically gives you sufficient control to influence the outcome. Selling doesn’t have to be a process of probability, whereby sales persons’ success rates are directly proportionate to the number of visits they make. With cold prospecting, “pushing” or “giving presentations” results in a closing rate between 1/20 and 1/10. You only close the deal if your client has coincidentally already decided, BY THEMSELVES, that they need your services.

Differentiation Selling is a straightforward approach to Sales whereby you make a decision together with the client. The sales dialogue results in a “closing” with more “commitment”. With these skills, I guarantee you a closing rate of at least 2/10 to 3/10 if you are currently achieving 1/10 or less. This equates to an increase of at least 100% – 300%!

Copyright © 2011, René Knecht