Before you can change the status quo, you must understand it.
I don’t want clients to just buy from me, and I don’t think you do either. Heresy? Nope. Just good business.
In B2B sales, customers buy more than just our products and services. They buy our ideas—our visions for scaling their businesses and improving their bottom lines. In fact, according to Forrester Research, “The first seller to set a vision of what’s possible has a 74 percent chance of winning the deal.”
But before we can sell a vision for the future, we must understand the present. We must demonstrate expertise in our prospects’ industries, and understand their unique business models and challenges. In other words, before we suggest change, we need to understand the status quo.
Where’s Your Sales Blind Spot?
Jill Konrath discusses Forrester’s data—and how it impacts selling strategies—in her straight-forward blog post, “What’s Obvious to Me That Most Sellers Are Completely Blind To.” She writes:
Until you have a strong grasp on how your prospects are doing things today, it’s extraordinarily difficult to fully grasp the business value that you can potentially bring them …
At its core, sales is about change.
If a prospect can’t see enough value in switching, they’ll stay with what they have. If it’s hard work to get buy-in, they’ll stay with what they have. Even if what you offer seems better.
But if you fully understand the limitations of their status quo, you’ll have a different discussion with them. If you know what their objectives are, you’ll be able to explore and expand on the difficulty of achieving them if things stay the same. (Read the rest of the article.)
Who’s the Expert? You Are!
Buyers want to work with the best of the best—salespeople who know their stuff, ask the right questions, and deliver tailor-made solutions that get them the ROI they deserve. But before you can put that expertise to good use, you have to score meetings with people who count—prospects who are open to challenging the status quo and who have the power to do so.
That’s where referrals come in. With referral introductions from people your prospects know and trust, you get in early and offer solutions to problems they didn’t even realize they had. You get the inside track, cement relationships, become a trusted advisor, and knock out your competitors before they even make the first call.
Do you have the skills to sell at this level? Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz to test your sales savvy and find out how you can improve it.