The Buyer-Seller Gap is getting its share of press these days. Even HBR is in on the fun, having tabulated seven daunting reasons why salespeople can’t close the deal. It gets worse: only about 55% of us make quota. I wonder if accountants are as bombarded with data about how badly they perform.
I recently attended the Sales 3.0 conference in Las Vegas, an executive event designed to drive sales performance and revenue growth. My favorite session was a main stage interview of an SVP of Sales Operations & Enablement. In short order, he summarized the criteria he’d established for determining whether he’d engage with an inquiring seller, saying “The seller must quickly explain how their solution will help me drive revenue, increase selling time, and/or impact EBITDA.” Loosely translated, if a seller can tick one of those boxes, s/he is inherently valuable to him.
Wouldn’t it be a luxury to know, in advance, what your prospects value? Sadly, this is not our collective reality. Meeting prep 101 demands that we read SEC filings, scour LinkedIn profiles, dig up recent press releases... yet, buyers lament that few of us truly stand out in any meaningful way. Could it be because we all prepare the same way for our meetings?
There’s a distinct line between forming working theories, and knowing, with conviction, what a prospect values. Working theories are educated guesses assembled by information that is commercially available to everyone - industry trends, roles & responsibilities, a company’s financial health. The only way to clearly appreciate what your prospects personally value is to interact with them. When was the last time you explicitly asked a prospect, “What’s critically important to you?”
While not all buyers are sophisticated about expressing their needs, we, as sellers, can be much more effective at rewriting our discovery talk track to understand our prospect's perspective. Only then can we match our solution to their needs and expectations.
If you are interested in learning more about how sellers can uncover what their customer values and why, watch our webinar, "The Top 3 Sales Challenges and How to Overcome Them"