Paul shares ideas on how to prime the buyer for your solution.
“Persuasion doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.”
Don’t wait for the presentation to start persuading the buyer.
“Persuasion begins with that discovery sales call.”
“Before we go in and make our presentation, we want to conduct a ….”
You must clearly understand how your customer defines value.
“Provide the customer with evidence that supports how you align.”
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How do I persuade the buyer before the presentation?
(Transcribed from podcast)
On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about what we can do, as a salesperson, to persuade a buyer before we even meet with them. And so, that’s the question: How do I persuade a buyer before my presentation? Let’s get started with that question.
Before we do, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studio. Podcasting is probably one of the fastest growing ways to connect with your audience, connect your brand, or your customers, whoever it might be. If you’ve considered starting a podcast, reach out to Andrea. She’s going to help you launch it. She’s going to answer questions; she’s going to guide you along the way. So make sure you reach out to her. There’s going to be a link to her webpage, actually, on this episode’s webpage.
Also, in Value-Added Selling, we talk about persuasion. In fact, we talk about the psychology of decision making. There’s so many great tips. It’s packed with ideas, things that you can use every single day to help you become more successful. Pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling. Pick up a copy for your friend as well.
Let’s move on to that question: How do I persuade a buyer before our meeting? A few months ago, I read a great book by Robert Cialdini, it’s called Pre-Suasion. And, given the title, you can see what it’s about. I mean, it’s about persuading someone before an interaction; what you can do beforehand to really set yourself up for success. When I think about how this relates to salespeople and the fact that we’re in the persuasion business, there were so many principles that apply to so many things. So, check out his book as well. That’s also available on Amazon.
When we think about persuasion though, persuasion doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. In sales, sometimes we falsely believe that all of the persuasion is going to happen when we’re giving our pitch, when we’re making a case for our solution. The reality is, a lot of the persuasion happens before that presentation even takes place. The persuasion really begins with that initial discovery sales call. When we are meeting with the buyer, when we’re trying to understand their needs, we’re persuading them to share information with us. As they’re sharing information and answering our questions, some self-discovery will take place. We talked about this earlier on a previous podcast when we talked about the discovery call. But, that’s where persuasion really begins.
Let’s look at a couple of ways that we can further persuade buyers. Now, there are two things I want you to remember: lowering resistance, and alignment. When I say lowering resistance, it means that we are anticipating buyer objections and pushback, and we’re addressing them before they actually surface. When I talk about alignment, it means we’re positioning our solution in a way that aligns with how that customer defines value.
Let’s first of all, talk about lowering resistance. This means conducting a barrier analysis. A barrier analysis means that we look at our opportunity and we ask ourselves, What’s going to get in the way of achieving success within this opportunity? And that means you’re looking at every step in your sales process, you’re looking at every step in the customer’s buying path, and you’re trying to identify roadblocks or barriers that you can remove.
Let’s say you’re analyzing an opportunity and you’re looking at the potential barriers. And let’s say, very early on in the buyer’s process, they mention that they have a limited budget that they are working with. Right then and there, that is a potential barrier. The buyer’s saying, “Okay, I’ve got a limited budget to work with.” As the salesperson, you have to pick up on that and say, “We need to help this buyer find a way to find more money, or expand their budget, or to get additional funding.” That’s the first barrier we have to try to reduce. And we can do that before we make our presentation. We can offer some ideas—some insight. That’s one of the ways we can remove a barrier.
Also, early on in the buyer’s process, let’s say they tell you, “You know, the timing’s not great right now. We’ve got a lot of change happening. We’re going to push this off until next year, but we at least want to gather information now.” Okay. That’s another barrier. They’re pushing this off until next year. Now you know that part of this means lowering their resistance to changing now. And that means sharing some ideas, maybe establishing a little bit of urgency. Again, the key is to conduct that barrier analysis to figure out what’s going to get in the way of your success. And, once you have those barriers identified, then you focus your energy on removing those barriers. That’s the first tip.
The second tip again, is alignment: Alignment. This means we have to clearly understand how our customer defines value. Once we identify how they define value, then, we need to share a message and surround them with a message that is consistent with how they define value.
I’ll give you one example. I was working with a group several months ago, and this one particular example—the customer defined value in terms of efficiency. They want to do more with less. Efficiency is going to be critical for them. Here’s what the salesperson did. The salesperson found a bunch of case studies that highlighted the efficiency of their solution and how that solution helped save on labor costs. They also actually did a video tour of their facility, where they went around to different departments and their technical group, their support group. What the salesperson did is, he had each of the individuals on this video tour make a comment about the efficiency of the solution, how they designed it. And again, the whole theme was around efficiency.
The salesperson wasn’t done. Then, they went out to a couple of existing customers and actually solicited some testimonials. They asked the customer to highlight the efficiency that they’ve gained in utilizing their solution. And so, the salesperson, before even conducting a formal presentation with a quote, with a proposal and all that, they were sending this information to their customer. And they kept saying, “I know that efficiency is important to you. Here’s some additional information on the efficiency of our solution.” Then they talked about the testimonials, then the video, and all that stuff.
What this salesperson is doing, they are actually priming— they’re priming that customer to view their solution as the efficient solution. They’ve positioned it as the front runner. And all they’re doing is showing a little alignment, how the customer’s definition of value, which is efficiency, is the same as their solution. It aligns perfectly. And the salesperson demonstrated that. So, before they even talk price, before they even present the final solution, they’re highlighting the efficiency. And that’s key.
So, you think about this, again, when you’re trying to persuade the buyer, it doesn’t always happen right at that presentation. In fact, it starts to happen well before we make a formal sales pitch or sales presentation.
So again, the two ideas— the first idea was lowering resistance: lowering resistance. That means we conduct a barrier analysis. Look at your opportunity and ask yourself, “Okay, what’s going to get in the way of achieving success?” Whatever you identify, remove it. Next thing you want to do, align your solution with how the customer defines value. Provide the customer, then, with evidence that supports how you align.
Make it a big day.