4 Steps to Build Trust and Win Orders
I have written often about the need to strip the complexity from your selling. My favorite quote I use to illustrate the value of simplicity in selling comes from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. In an interview published in the Harvard Business Review, he says about Amazon’s sales efforts: “We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”
Selling is not about persuasion. Selling is not about convincing. It is simply about helping a customer make a purchase decision. And the goal of every action a sales person takes should simply be to help their prospects make informed purchase decisions with the least investment of their time possible.
As business people we compete in a world where the unabated pace of technological innovation and the rapid globalization of our economy have lowered the barriers to entry into most markets, creating an explosion in the number of competitors in nearly every product category. The net result of these forces is that it has become exceedingly difficult for any company to establish and maintain any sort of meaningful product differentiation. In the eyes of our prospects, we increasingly all look alike.
This means that the first line of competitive differentiation for a company is primarily based on how they sell their product or service, not what they sell. It is how you sell that builds trusts, develops credibility around your solution and provides value to the prospect by making it easier for them to make a decision.
Provided, of course, that you actually do make it easier for them to make a decision. Too often I see companies whose sales performance is hamstrung by the very complex sales systems and sales methodologies they employ. The system takes precedence and takes the focus off of the customer and helping them make a decision.
Simplifying your selling provides value to your prospect by making it easy for them to gather the information they need to make a decision. And it provides value to the seller as well.
Siegel + Gale, a New York-based branding firm recently released it “2013 Global Brand Simplicity Index.” Based on its research, the firm found that making it simpler for customers to reach a buying decision paid dividends in three ways:
1. It increased the likelihood of repeat business. (Cue Daniel Kahneman’s Peak End rule.)
2. A significant fraction of customers (up to 29% depending on industry) were willing to pay more for “simpler experiences and interactions.
3. 75% were more likely to recommend a company that provided simpler interactions.
Siegel + Gale’s report concluded that “[simplicity] brings clarity instead of confusion, decision instead of doubt, and the rewards are real…Simplicity inspires deeper trust and greater loyalty in customers…”
Practical Sales Tip: Here are some steps that you can take to simplify your selling:
1. Make Every Touch Count: Every interaction with a prospect has to provide value that will help them move one step closer to making a decision. If it doesn’t, don’t do it.
2. Be Absolutely Responsive: Every customer inquiry or request requires a complete response in the shortest time possible. Don’t let a rigid sales process put you at a competitive disadvantage to a responsive seller. 2nd place is no place to be.
3. Clarify Your Offer: The customer has to be able to quickly understand what they can buy from you that will satisfy their requirements. As Einstein was reported to have said “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” If the customer has to work too hard to understand what you are selling, you won’t.
4. Reduce Repeats: Every time a customer has to repeat himself or herself it reduces your chances of getting the order. For example, if your prospect tells their requirements to a sales person but then has to repeat the whole story to a sales engineer, your odds of getting their business just got smaller. The simpler approach is cut out the middleman and eliminate the need for the customer repeat their story by hiring sales people who have the expertise and experience of your sales engineers.
Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales. A sought-after speaker and business coach, Andy conducts training, coaches and consults with CEOs and sales teams to teach them practical selling strategies that use responsiveness, speed and simple sales processes to increase sales. Enjoy what you just read? Sign up for our regular digest of valuable and practical sales tips and strategies, “Selling with Maximum Impact.”
© Andy Paul 2013