One of the things that's interesting about selling is how different the process can be depending on your market. If you're selling straight to the consumer, the process is fairly straightforward. You need to get convince one person of the value of your service and close the deal. In B2B sales, things can get much trickier. You start dealing with politics and different personalities. There are bureaucracies you must fight through, and getting people on your side is crucial for success.
In theses types of situations, one of the keys is asking your customers the right questions. In the early stages of the sell, you not only need to sell them, but you need to get them to sell for you as well. To do this, make sure you ask the three questions below during your sales call with early decision makers. This will help get them on your side, so that they will help champion your product to the rest of their organization.
1. What else can I provide to help you pitch my product to the other decision makers?
One of the lessons you must learn in B2B sales it is rarely a one-person decision. Because of this, you need to make sure whomever you're speaking with is going to spearhead your sale for you to the rest of the group.
To do this effectively, you need to give them as much information as possible. Too much time is wasted having a customer have to back and forth with you to get extra materials that the other decision makers need. To avoid this, make sure you give all the important documents upfront. The last thing you want is to have someone champion your product, only to get shutdown because they don't have the info that they need. The more you prep the early decision makers, the easier it will be to close the later ones.
2. Do you have any ideas for features I can build in my product later on?
It amazes me how many salespeople never ask their prospects for advice on their product. So focused on just trying to get business, they neglect the opportunity to get great feedback on what they're selling. Not only does this restrict you from getting insights, but you also waste an opportunity to turn your prospect into a partner.
Whenever I speak to customers, I love when they tell me how I can improve my product. Even if they don't end up working with me, at least I leave knowing how I can improve. And if I do end up building their suggestion, I know they will do business with me in the future.
3. When is a good time to follow up with you?
This is a basic question, but one that for some reason seems to be forgotten by too many people. When you are speaking with a customer in a long-term sale, you need to make sure you have a set date of when you're going to follow up. A lot of sellers have an amazing first meeting, and they get caught up in the moment. Then they end up forgetting to see the entire deal through. Don't let this happen. Make sure you have a clear path to close the deal from the get go. You want to have an exact plan of how you're going to take the deal from the opening meeting to the closing meeting. Stopping halfway and not following up just wastes a huge amount of time. It's not up to your prospect to be on top of closing the deal, it's your job.