November 04, 2009

Why Sales People Are 9 Time More Likely to Talk About Themselves!

From our experience watching hundreds of sales presentations, pitches and proposals sellers spend 9 times as much time talking about themselves (that is their companies and solutions), as they do about the buyer’s needs. It should be the other way around and if it was, we believe, it could double, or triple the rate of success of the average salesperson.

So, how do you know where the sales person is focused? Well, listen out for the words that are used in sales pitches, presentations and proposals.

Focused on Needs

Focused Elsewhere

Using these words means you are
focused on the buyer’s needs:

Challenges / Needs
Problems / Opportunities
Goals / Objectives
Performance Gaps

Using these words suggests you are
focused on your solution:

Competitive advantage
Unique Selling Point
Value Proposition
Our company, People, Skills, Capabilities, etc.
Our Services, Products, or Systems
‘industry leading’, ‘best in class’, ‘innovative’, etc.

To understand this better we have been considering the following questions:
  • What is so difficult about finding out about the buyer’s needs before arriving at a solution?
  • Why do sellers feel that they have to convince the buyer that they have the best solution before they have found out what the buyer’s problem is?
Well here are some possible answers:
  • The buyer is reluctant to reveal his, or her problem to the seller.
  • The buyer says he, or she knows what is wanted and the seller accepts that this is true.
  • The salesperson has been trained to talk features and benefits.
  • The seller believes that his, or her solution is the best regardless of the specific needs of the customer.
  • The seller assumes he, or she knows what the customer wants, so there is no need to discuss it.
  • The sales person does not have the knowledge, or skill to be able to uncover the buyer’s needs.
  • The problem is so obvious to the salesperson that getting straight to the solution makes sense.
  • Sellers are used to selling to lower level managers, where discussions around features and technologies, can be welcomed. At senior levels they are not
  • The seller assumes that the buyer can join the dots and link the solution to his, or her problem.
  • Time with the buyer is limited so communicating key product information is a priority.
All of these are factors.

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