Selling to an Educated Buyer

As salespeople, part of our job is to quickly learn exactly what a prospect’s role is within their organization and to ascertain their true motivations for engaging with us. By doing this, we are in a position of power that enables us to address their needs quickly and efficiently, ideally getting us to a strong sales opportunity. 

Not long ago, we found ourselves presenting to a potential new client and had to take the time to understand their motivations for hiring a sales training company. It was not lost on us that one of the founders was a former Sandler sales trainer from many years ago. He clearly recognizes that training is only as good as the management team supporting it. 

This prospect is extremely savvy and educated in the sales training world and had been in our shoes many times in the past. It was no stroke of luck that we knew he was a former trainer as we had done our research and had spoken to our sponsor about the business drivers for the company. Gathering this key information greatly minimizes the chance that a prospect will blindside you.  

The initial questions I like to ask our prospects when securing a meeting is: 

Why did you take a meeting with us? 

What is the critical business issue you are trying to solve? 

His response was that we came highly recommended by one of the executives he knew and we conduct hands-on training that reinforced the theory. This prospect told us that most of the programs they were looking at involved full-on methodologies but that his was a young and hungry startup that needs to perform. They needed to re-message, rebrand and hunt new logos.  

We learned that the key critical technical issue was to show the team how to do things differently and his critical personal issue was to appear to the team they were investing in them.  

At this point we had a very educated buyer, the critical technical issue and the critical personal issue. The last and most elusive piece we were missing was the critical business issue.  We needed to drill down to prove we understood the challenges and also needed to spin a bigger deal; while the original need was a few days of prospecting training, it was clear that there were larger issues at play that needed to be addressed.

When we drilled down our prospect felt his team wasted time, that they didn’t know how to research and get to decision makers and believed they were incredibly weak at delivering value propositions boldly and confidently. 

By the numbers…

He had 45 sales professionals and really wanted to see a 20% increase in new customer acquisition. He was looking for 20% growth and/or to reduce the team by 9 people.  With this critical information, we could measure the effectiveness of our sessions and tie them directly to what he wanted. 

Our proposal didn’t focus on just 2 days of training but rather a 180 day total engagement that started with a sales leader/manager session, followed by time management, power prospecting, social selling and story selling.  After he signed the agreement, he told us we won because we spoke to him about his business issues, efficiency, growth and sales management reinforcement to the entire program. 

How many times do we hear the issue and connect immediately with product?  There are two types of salespeople out there: 

  • Transactional: Wins the deal and moves on
  • Consultative: Determines the business drivers, creates the ROI and then presents it back showing their understanding of the total need  

When all is said and done, the consultative sales professional wins more deals, larger deals and is seen as a business partner who truly helps his/her customers address key business challenges.

Do you need help with consultative selling? Do your sales reps know how to uncover the critical business and personal issues? Sales Gauge can help: