Most of you, by now, are aware that selling language has changed. It’s not a spiel. It’s not a script. It’s not a lecture on technical facts and figures. It’s not showing up and throwing up features and benefits. It’s not pitching. It’s not demoing. It’s not listening for only enough buying signals so you can pounce and close.
Your customers have had their feet dragged over the coals so many times by sales folks seeking to define pain, that the real pain is the risk of scheduling yet one more appointment with one more sales person who is going to attempt to, yup, you’ve got it, define their pain. That’s not selling language.
The truth of the matter is that it’s not only selling language that has changed. The intent of selling has changed as well.
Your customers are looking for conversations that make them pause and think about their context in a completely different manner. Your customers are looking for questions that indicate you did your homework about them, their industry, their sources of revenue, investment and valuation. That just might be the optimal selling language.
You don’t learn this kind of stuff from a script or a one-size fits all sales training course. You are the artist who creates that dialogue based on the breadth and depth of your own learned expertise. You will reconfigure your available knowledge with each conversation you have with customers and prospects. That’s when your use of selling language becomes part of who you are as a sales person.
No one does this kind of homework for you. Your customers and prospects know immediately who will be their partner and who won’t. You either get their mental wheels spinning or you don’t. You either inspire them to find new ways of approaching what they used to think was a status quo, insurmountable set of odds. Or you won’t.
Believe me, if you think you need to meet your quarterly quota, your customers may have more important topics on their minds than helping you make your numbers. They may be trying to keep the lights on and pay for raw materials net immediately, while their customers are stringing them along on net 120 on receivables. How can you think of selling at them, when you don’t take the time to do situational analysis about the context in which you are asking them to making a buying decision?
Selling language has changed. It now reflects the nature and intent of the sales process, placed within the context of the current economy of the business development ecosystem. (Chew on those sentences for a while).
The fine art of Selling, and selling language, calls for individuals who are comfortable and confident to put all these factors into business discussions that may make a greater difference to the buyer’s longevity in the marketplace than they do to your short term goal of winning the quarterly sales contest.
Are you one of those sales folks who is comfortable and confident having these types of conversations? You may have to create your own “script”, in the absence of your company providing you with anything meaningful in terms of marcom materials. It will take some practice, and some back-and-forth real-time conversation with real-time customers instead of role playing. You will find that customers are far more forgiving when you engage them in a give-and-take, realistic conversation that impacts both of your outcomes.
If what I’ve just described sounds foreign to you, then stop what you are doing. Do your homework. Reconfigure your sales brain and habits. Selling – and the language of selling – doesn’t sound or look like status quo selling anymore.
Your customers will thank you for the difference you will make to them.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo back into small and mid-sized businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical start-ups seeking investors and early customers.