FIPP Training Promoted Post: Sales is going to be challenging this year. Media salespeople will have to optimise every stage of their sales process if they are to succeed. Every stage is important, from initial outreach all the way through to negotiation and close. However, it’s the early conversation between the prospect and the salesperson which is arguably the most important. It’s the engine room of the overall process. Get it right, and everything else gets easier, get it wrong, and the opportunity will be tough to get over the line.
Traditionally, the sales conversation has focused on the client’s needs. Too often, it’s simply a friendly, long, drawn out need find that offers no value whatsoever to the client. In fact, on a list of 42 factors that the strongest salespeople exhibited, ‘Diagnosing Needs’ was 37th*. In an environment full of uncertainty and risk, clients value a salesperson’s ability to help them achieve results over and above rapport or friendship. It makes sense. The client can’t convince other people in their business that they should buy just because the salesperson was a really nice person.
In order to make a buying decision, client will follow a 3-step process:
- CHANGE: First they must see a compelling reason to do something different now.
- CHOOSE: Next they must choose a solution that fulfils their need to change.
- CHAMPION: Finally, they must have the confidence and ability to sell the solution on to internal stakeholders.
So, if you want your client to take the first step in the buying process, the goal of the sales conversation must be to get them sold on why they need to change. That can be done by asking the right questions around two key areas:
- Their personal challenges
- How their current approach is causing the challenge.
By concentrating questioning around these two areas, the salesperson maximises the chances of the client saying, “Yes, I need to change something… NOW!”.
To achieve the right result from the sales conversation, salespeople will need to start asking the right questions for the right reasons. Only then will they get the answers that will lead to a sale.
‘Running sales conversations’ is the second module in FIPP’s ‘Sales Accelerator’ series of sales training workshops in association with Flume Sales Training.