The first time you take a test, you have no idea what questions to expect. The second time you take a test, having already had a glimpse at the questions, your score should be better than the first time you took that same test. What about the 3rd, 4th, 80th, or 200th time you take that same test?
Sales is a series of tests. There are questions that your prospective clients are asking. You are providing the answers. The questions don’t change much. And having already seen them before, you should be getting better at answering the questions.
Do I know you?
For all the changes that have occurred in the world of sales over the last decade and a half, the deep truths have not changed at all. To create and win an opportunity you must be known.
If this is true, and if you have failed this test in the past, you will double down on nurturing your dream clients, even though they are completely cold right now, even though they already have a strategic partner in your space, and even though they are not yet compelled to change.
Eventually, your prospective client is going to ask the question, “Who do we know that can help us with this issue?” Because you know this is the question, you now also know the answer.
Can you create value for me?
One of the fundamental changes in sales is the dramatic increase in the need for business acumen and situational knowledge. It is no longer enough for a salesperson to be able to tout their product or service’s features, benefits, and advantages; the internet already does that.
The question your dream client is asking is, “Who has the ideas and the experience to help us obtain the results we need now?”
Because you know that this is the question, you understand that you need to demonstrate your ability to think like a businessperson in solving your client’s challenges. The answer to this question requires that you understand your business, your prospective clients business, and enough about the overall business environment to know what choices they may make and what trade-offs they are going to have to consider.
The answer to this question is proof that you are a peer, not a vendor.
Why should I choose you?
This question also shows up in another form that every salesperson hears from time to time. That question really means, “What makes you different?”
A lot of people underestimate the need to create a strong preference for themselves, for their company, and for their solution as they move through their sales cycle. People play the game to play the game and not to win. They don’t recognize that how they sell, and who they are, is part of the value proposition they are asking their prospective client to buy.
To create that preference and to answer the question “Why should I choose you,” You need to know how and why you are different, as well as how those differences make a difference for your prospective client.
This question is being asked all the time, even if you never hear those words escape your prospect’s lips.
Do you care about me?
This question is also being asked all the time whether or not you ever hear your perspective client say these words. trust is the foundation of trust. People don’t often do business with people that they do not trust.
Some people rush their sales process, believing that moving faster will allow them to close deals sooner. Some people mistakenly talk about their needs instead of their dream client’s needs. Many people make the mistake of presenting a solution that doesn’t consider what the individual stakeholders who are making the decision need individually and collectively.
Not spending time with people who have real needs is evidence that you do not care. Not listening or taking into account your prospects fears and concerns is proof that those things are not important to you. Speeding through your sales process to get to “the close” faster gives your prospect the idea that the deal is more about you than about them.
In human relationships, slower is faster.
Selling is a series of tests. When you first start selling, you don’t intuitively know the answers to these questions. You may not know they are even being asked. Once you have taken the test, you know what the questions are, and you know what the right answers should be.
What question is continually asked of you for which you still lack a good answer? If you are losing opportunities you believe that you should be winning, you need a better answer to this question.
If you were to look over your losses in the last 12 months, what questions cause you to fail the test?