How well do you tune into your buyer’s voice? It’s hard enough to resist the temptation to spiel features and benefits at buyers. It’s even more difficult to listen to what your buyer is telling you.
Then there’s the task of:
- capturing what the buyer has told you; and
- articulating it back to them, succinctly, as a set of specifications you both can use as the basis of their purchase decision.
It’s difficult to earn an opportunity to speak with buyers. If you learn to listen for their “voice”, you’ll discover that they sprinkle selling opportunities throughout the conversation.
Most of the time, you are too busy looking for “buying” signals so you can spiel and close and make your numbers. After all, that’s what you’ve been trained to do.
Stop! Look. Listen. Hear. Translate.
Create a set of selling specs for your customer, based on their own words.
Here are 4 tips for how you can start to tune into your buyer’s voice. Start applying them today.
- How does the buyer articulate what they want? Even if you received an RFP or RFQ, you are having a conversation with the buyer or buyers. The language they use reflects the buyer’s voice. Is your buyer’s voice full of detail about their preferences or are they vague? Does the buyer place limits on what they expect from you or are they open to collaboration and movement away from the status quo?
- Assume you are both overlooking something strategic in the buying process. You both are talking about a solution. Is your buyer talking about a new project or an existing project? Is there an opportunity for repeat business or do they see you as a one product, one solution seller? Do they prefer to do business with multiple vendors or with a small set of vendors?
- Determine whether their buying process complements your ability to deliver on what you are selling. If you are rushing a sale to meet quota, there’s a tendency to sell anyone anything. If you can’t deliver on what’s been promised, that buyer goes elsewhere and tells their associates about the negative experience. Discuss whether your company’s capabilities align with their buying cycle.
- Create a set of specifications for their buying and your selling processes. Use their own words when creating your collaborative specifications. Recap your conversation. Identify next steps in the aligned buying-selling process. Gain buy-in and agreement based on your mutual expectations from one another.
There. You’ve started a collaborative dialogue. It sounds to me like you are already doing business with each other.
Babette N. Ten Haken, is President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC . She catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development for non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups. Her book on collaboration strategies, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.