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Helping customers to understand their own situation and options better

Earn the right to stay in the conversation and prove the value you can bring to them - Wednesday 23 August

Hello Subscriber,

Yesterday, we emphasised the value of having an agenda ahead of every selling conversation. Today’s advice is even more important!

Once we’re in the conversation with customers, what’s the very best use of our time?

Here’s the thing that will surprise many people. Whenever it’s possible, we should avoid using our limited time with customers talking about our products and services!

Here’s the best advice I can give you.

Use your time in conversation with customers to help them to understand their own situation and options better. This often means resisting the temptation to take up precious time during your meeting trying to persuade them to buy your products and services!

Help them to work out for themselves the ways that your products and services might help them to achieve the outcomes they’re seeking.

You’ll earn the right to stay in conversation with this potential customer by leading a conversation they find sufficiently valuable.

It means coaching them about their situation and options, using your specialist market knowledge and experience. And then, take the time to summarise what emerged in the conversation in the form of a proposal to continue the conversation.

How to coach your customers

Here are some examples of questions you can ask in your coaching role. (I’ve had to make them generic because I don’t know the specifics of what you’re selling! 😀)

  • “In relation to the discussion we’re having, what improvements are you hoping to achieve?”

  • “How does that compare with what you’re experiencing currently?”

  • “What might be the steps in considering these changes in your company?”

  • “Who else might need to be involved?”

“First Draft Proposals”

You can then summarise their situation and aspirations in your “first draft proposals” document.

At an early stage of a complex sale, your goal is not to win their business but to win their agreement to stay in the conversation.

We want to finish every conversation with clarity about who will do what and by when. This implies that the customer wants to continue the conversation. We’ll often need to work hard to achieve that permission.

The best way to earn the right to stay in the conversation is to prove the value we can add to them. We’ll often do this most effectively through the quality of our coaching and authentic engagement with their priorities.

Here’s one area of practice to emphasise today

Practice coaching your customers by asking great open questions that enable them to understand their situation and needs better.

Coaching Focus

  1. Think back to your most recent meetings with customers. How much of your time did you spend talking about your products and services? How much time did you spend coaching them about what they’re hoping to improve?

  2. Take some time with your sales coach or sales team leader to role-play conversations where you coach your typical customers about their situation and needs.

If you have questions or comments, it would be great to hear from you. Just hit reply and send me an email.

Have a great day!

Founder & Leader

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