When a buyer shares an issue that your product or solution can solve, it’s very tempting to swoop in super-hero style and with a big smile share how your product can most assuredly solve their problem. With great excitement, you confidently explain how your product or service is perfect for them. Laying out your case for your price, product and company, you’ve just wrapped up a stellar sales presentation – you might even win the sale.
Now that you feel great about yourself, I have just one question: What did you do wrong?
Getting “A” sale is not as good as getting “THE” sale. What I mean is you may have sold something, but you left value on the table for the buyer and left credibility (and money) on the table for yourself.
Never allow your emotions to direct your sales call by excitedly and prematurely offering your solution. Let the conversation breathe. When you jump too quickly to presenting your product/service when you see an opening, you fail to uncover additional opportunities. You also demonstrate that you lack patience. It reveals to the buyer that you’re focused more on yourself and not them.
The Right-Hand Rule of 3
The Right-Hand Rule of 3 is a simple technique I employ on almost every sales call when I’m in the Needs Analysis step of the sales process. You want to maximize the mutual value for yourself and your prospect. Therefore, when you get a buying signal from your prospect (they communicate an issue your product/service can resolve), here’s what you do:
- Write the buyer’s issue on the right-hand side of your note pad. This column on your paper is exclusively for buyer issues. You know you’ll be getting to these issues once you collect them all.
- Don’t immediately offer your solution. That’s right – keep your product/service in your back pocket. Don’t play your hand too early. Your job is to maximize value for the buyer, so keep your solution to yourself while you move on to step three.
- Ask a minimum of three (3) questions before you offer up your solution. To find out the size and scope of the issue, ask follow-up questions about that issue. This shows you listened. By drilling down for more info, you learn the significance of the issue and effect it has on their operation. More buying opportunities occur when you patiently uncover the whole story instead of quickly jumping into a product pitch.
Your prospect indicates that they have experienced excessive system downtime. Instead of quickly showing how your service reduces downtime, ask these questions:
- How often does your system go down?
- When it goes down, how long is it down?
- How does this impact your Production?
You could also ask question #3 by replacing the word Production with other words like Cost, Customer Service, Sales, or Reputation.
You get the picture. Ask drill down questions to find out the significance of this issue. In fact, this may be the first time your buyer has articulated the consequences of this issue. Hearing themselves say it can exacerbate the problem in their mind and your solution will be a very welcome relief.
Using this very simple technique can help you increase sales and develop into a more credible sales professional.