Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Digital Signage Sales 101: Stop selling and start solving - Customer Centered Selling

-Deacon Wardlow

In previous blogs we’ve discussed sales approaches for Digital Signage (DS):
-Short term gain, long term costs (cost of a "cheap" LED Sign)
-Is an LED Sign (or any Digital Signage) an investment or a purchase?
-Selling the value of a Digital Signage Solution (LED Sign, LCD, or other)

-LED Sign Sales: Closing Techniques

Problem - solution. This is the very heart and soul of sales. Regardless of what we tell ourselves, we are creatures of habit. Few people enjoy change because change means putting time and effort in where we’d rather focus those energies elsewhere. When a salesperson comes in with a new product/service, that salesperson is really saying, “It’s time to change things up!” If the client doesn’t see a need, they’re not going to be very open to the sale.

Do you want to see a better turnaround with your sales? Stop selling! Stop throwing numbers at people with no value attached. Even when you have value and the best approach in the world, it’s empty unless you’re bringing something to the table to solve the client’s problems. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they won’t improve gas mileage or save someone time in their day...

A salesperson is, first and foremost, a solutions provider. The best salespeople have a solution to help clients quickly overcome whatever obstacles they’re facing and they’re going to work with them to ensure the solution is a good fit. The sale isn’t about the product/service, it’s about the need for them. If there’s no need, there’s no sale and the salesperson is wasting both the client’s and their own time.

Robert Jolles wrote the book Customer Centered Selling, this is a staged approach to developing a relationship and focusing on the customer rather than the product/service:

1. Satisfaction/Research
Most clients are happy with what they have (thus the lack of a desire to change). This is the salesperson’s opportunity to research the customer:
-What problems will be addressed by the product/service?
-Who are the influencers for a purchase decision?
-Plant seeds to build relationships to help a sale later on.

2. Acknowledgement/Analysis
Once the salesperson has spoken with the customer, they’ve likely revealed a problem which needs to be solved. The client might not see the problem as something which needs a solution and will happily spend a lot of time at this stage. Work to get the client past this stage:
-Refine the problem by identifying the nature of the issue(s).
-Define the full extent of the current problem and how it possibly affects other parts of the business.
-Ask probing questions to get the client to realize the pains the problem causes now and will cause later.

3. Decision/Confirmation
The client should now see the full extent of the problem, now it’s up to the salesperson to outline the main issue which relates to the solution(s) available.

4. Criteria/Confirmation
Quickly verify the customer wants to solve the problem, check for concerns and ensure the client is ready to move forward.

5. Measurement/Specification
When the client is ready to move and open to a solution, the salesperson will guide them towards a specific solution and discuss how that solution will be applied (to show the value/return).

6. Investigation/Solution
Here’s where the salesperson gets an opportunity to shine and be a solutions provider. Using the F.A.B.E.C. sequence:
-Show Features which meet the customer needs (prioritized in order of importance)
-Demonstration additional Advantages
-Describe the Benefits of the solution
-Explain how it works (more is less, don’t oversell)
-Confirm they agree the solution is a good fit and they understand what’s been presented

7. Selection/Close
The benefits of the solution are summarized (Summary Close) and the salesperson asks for the sale (using whatever particular closing style preferred). This is the time to discuss logistical details and reassure the customer the decision is a good one.

8. Reconsideration/Maintenance
The sale isn’t over with a sale. This is the key time for the salesperson to keep an eye on delivery, setup and training. The salesperson should keep in touch with the client to ensure the solution really did solve the problem. Staying in touch enables the salesperson to strengthen the relationship as well as spot future opportunities.

When salespeople focus on the customer, the sale will come naturally. You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.

*I invite you to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at deacon@vantageled.com. Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (http://www.vantageled.com), please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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