Solve the One Problem the Buyer Has, Not the Nine They Do Not by gregvanderlindeslia


									SLiA Group
              Sales Leadership in Action Group

 Solve the One Problem the Buyer
 Has, Not the Nine They Do Not
Executive Summary:

The buyer is the focal point of the sales process. Sales reps need to evolve from traditional
sales practices and place a greater emphasis on the buyer’s perspective. Having insight into
what buyers expect will allow sales reps to customize the features and benefits of their
product solution that directly impact a buyer’s situation.

                 Bottom Line & Business Impact:
                 Buyers want solutions, not a features/benefits list. Sales reps that do not quickly and
                 effectively offer solutions that are based on a buyer’s concept will not satisfy their
                 needs, forcing them to consider further solutions from competitors.

            © 2010 SLiA Group Inc.,                                                Page 1
                  Consider the Flip Side
                  The focus of sales must be on current issues facing buyers. The vast majority of sales reps
                  still have a traditional approach to selling; they focus on the features and benefits of their
                  product/service mix, and neglect buyer needs. Focusing on buyer needs is the key
                  component to successfully closing the gap between the products offered, and the solution
Lay of the Land

                  needed to solve the buyer’s problem.

                  Sales reps often get caught up in selling the features and benefits of a product. It is much
                  easier to understand and sell a concept from a personal perspective. While shifting to a
                  foreign approach may be difficult, sales reps must understand the buyer’s perspective. This
                  will provide a comprehensive understanding of the buyer’s situation and needs, so that the
                  sales rep can offer the right product mix. To effectively and efficiently solve a buyer’s
                  problem, and avoid offering solutions that do not fit their situation, sales reps should:

                     • Focus on a Differentiated approach
                     • Understand the Negative Impacts of Feature/Benefit Dropping
                     • Understand the Buyer’s Concept

                  Focus on a Differentiated Approach
                  Competition is fierce. In every market, competing companies offer buyers similar:

                     • Products
                     • Features
                     • Pricing

                  This ultimately complicates decisions for buyers. The majority of these options focus on
                  the selling features of the products available, and offer little insight into a situation specific
                  and focused solution.

                  A plethora of options makes it difficult for buyers to distinguish between competing
                  companies. Today’s market lacks differentiation between companies. Therefore, it is very
                  important for companies to do everything they can to create a divide between what their
                  sales reps and the competition has to offer.

                  A differentiated approach is created when sales reps shift their focus from what they offer,
                  to what the buyer needs, in order to satisfy the situation. This involves taking initiative,
                  researching the buyer, and analyzing their situation. Sales reps must create their own
                  customized plan for how to best serve their buyer’s needs. To have a completely focused
                  approach, sales reps need to consider the sale from both perspectives:

                     • The buyer: Visualize the ideal solution of the purchase from the buyer’s point of view.
                     • The sales rep: Build on what was learned from the buyer’s perspective and create a
                       sales strategy.

                  The Negative Impact of Feature/Benefit Dropping
                  Feature/benefit dropping is a very popular sales approach. It involves sales reps focusing
                  on their product’s feature/benefit to attract buyers. While there is always a time and place
                  to discuss the specifics on what sales reps are selling, it should enter the sales process

                     © 2010 SLiA Group Inc.,                                                 Page 2
naturally during a conversation, when it is required by the buyer. It should not be forced
upon the buyer.

Feature/benefit dropping focuses on the selling company’s offerings, and then attempts to
prove the validity of their product claims through evidence of other successes. While there
is value in showing buyers past successes, the focal point of any meeting should be on how
sales reps can create success for the buyer. Focusing on the evidence of other successes:

   • Forces buyers to connect the dots: Sales reps have to hope that the buyer draws a
       parallel between the results other companies have received, and the situation the
       buyer is currently in. There is no guarantee buyers will see this connection. It is the
       sales reps’ job to make these connections clear for the buyer.

   • Negatively impacts the buyer’s perception of value: If a sales rep gives 10
       features and the buyer only really needs or relates to one of them, then the buyer’s
       perception is that they are now paying for more features/benefits than what they
       need. Because of this, the buyer may see this as an expensive option. While this may
       be the best fit for the buyer’s needs, the negative perception that has been created
       due to the feature dump often causes buyers to turn to competitors who provide a
       clear and concise option.

Understand the Buyer’s Concept
Understanding the buyer’s concept should be the sales rep’s main priority at the outset of
a sales call. This should be the case regardless of whether or not the buyer has asked:

“We’re evaluating which product to buy, what can your company do for us?”

Understanding the buyer’s concept is done through effective questioning and active
listening. This not only places the emphasis on the buyer’s situation, it also:

   • Relaxes the buyer: This puts the buyer at ease, regardless of whether or not their
     answers affect the sales rep’s recommendation. The simple fact that the sales rep
     asked the buyer detailed questions first, will make the buyer feel as if the offering is
     catered to them.

   • Once the sales rep fully understands the problem, and has a genuine solution to offer,
     the mentality of the buyer shifts from:

           o “Now I have to make a choice,” to
           o “If I want my problem solved, I need to take action now.”

Sales reps focus on their perspective because it is the easier approach. Understanding the
buyer’s concept is more time consuming. However, once a rep understands the buyer’s
concept through an effective questioning process, selling becomes easier.

Instead of selling the features and benefits of their product in a trial and error basis, sales
reps can sell the specific features of their product that are directly related to the buyers
concept. Understanding the buyer’s concept effectively prevents reps from selling blind,
and will differentiate them from other competitors.

   © 2010 SLiA Group Inc.,                                                Page 3
                Putting into Practice
                The Fundamentals of the Buyer Engagement Approach
                The Buyer Engagement Approach
                The Importance of Listening
                Closing Challenges & The Buyer Engagement Approach
                Principles of Negotiation

 Sale Leadership in Action Group products are for the exclusive use of SLiA Group’s clients, and for
 internal purposes only. Members can use the document in whole or in part. The products are to be used
 for internal purposes only, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the paid memberships. Members may
 customize the tools and templates by editing titles, headers and footers with their company information.

© 2010 SLiA Group Inc.,                                                                  Page 4

To top