Meridith Elliott Powell, Business Motivational Speaker, Award-Winning Author, and Business Strategist at MotionFirst
The key to sales success in an uncertain marketplace is relevancy. If you want to get out of the price war, create a long-lasting relationship with your clients and leave your competition in the dust you need to be relevant. The problems your customers were facing before COVID, the problems they are facing now, and the problems they will face in two or three months are all different. You may be selling the same products and services, but the problems you solve are changing, and your sales approach needs to change with it.
So how do you become relevant in today’s market? You start by interviewing your existing customers. Choose your top ten customers and simply reach out to ask them these open-ended questions.
1. Tell me how things are going in your business? What are the challenges? The opportunities?
2. What is your top goal for 2021? Why?
3. What if any obstacles or challenges are standing in your way of achieving that goal?
Then just listen – this is not a sales call. Because what your customers are about to tell you is pure gold. They are about to tell you their biggest challenges, their biggest opportunities, and what they need most to accomplish their goals. In other words, they are about to share what you need to know to reposition your products and services to be relevant in the marketplace. Relevant to sell to them, and relevant to attract prospects.
The sales professionals who are most successful today, do not have better products, better sales techniques or cheaper prices, they are just solving the current problems their customers have. Customers buy from sales professionals who understand them, not from sales professionals they understand.
Here is a quick story: The first product the company Proctor and Gamble put on the marketplace was Ivory Soap. Talk about a product that is hard to differentiate yourself in the marketplace – soap. Their strategy to compete was to be relevant. Was to figure out what customers really needed when it came to soap. So before they ever put their product on the market they interviewed their potential customers.
What did they learn? That people loved soap, would be willing to buy soap, but the problem with soap was that when you used it it would slip out of your hands and fall to the bottom of the tub. Customers wanted a soap that floats. P&G listened and injected air into a bar of soap. They took Ivory Soap to market and sold it as the “soap that floats”. The exact language their customers told them they wanted. By the end of the 1800’s Proctor and Gamble was a million dollar company.