Customers used to be satisfied with a fair price, a quality product and reasonable after-sale support. Today, they demand a lot more.
Here are three statements that can be said of most prospects, according to sales consultant John Graham:
- They’re more demanding. Whether it’s the Internet or the competitive economy, prospects are more determined to get the most value for their purchases. Some of them go into a sales presentation with a sense of entitlement that doesn’t end with price, quality and service. They expect salespeople to increase their perceived value of the product or service.
- They’re more analytical and more educated about everything involved with the product or service being sold. The key to selling these prospects is to keep them satisfied – find out what they want and give it to them. You’ll be perceived as a consultant, adviser and problem-solver, not simply a person pushing a product or service.
- They expect the salesperson to be an ally, not an adversary. Prospects used to think of themselves on opposite sides of the desk from a salesperson. This is no longer true. Prospects try to establish a sense of rapport, trust and respect with the salesperson. Their current attitude reflects a sense of partnering with the salesperson.
Meeting the needs
Here are what effective salespeople are doing to meet the changing needs of today’s prospects:
- They recognize that customers have increased knowledge about the products or services they’re buying. Salespeople anticipate these higher expectations and use value-added strategies to meet them.
- They create an atmosphere of trust and openness in sharing information with prospects. They try to provide solutions that will help prospects in the long-term. They are much more open and candid in dealing with prospects and trying to develop long-term solutions.
- They recognize their pivotal role of matching the prospect’s increased demands while maintaining the overall profitability of the companies they represent.
- They understand the importance of earning the prospect’s respect. They gain it by showing prospects their conviction and enthusiasm.
- They recognize that this is the age of the expert. Prospects want to buy from a salesperson who has in-depth knowledge and experience to sell them the right products or services.
- They learn from failure and disappointment. They see problems as opportunities to use their creative energies and they look upon obstacles as challenges to be met and overcome. They are not defeated by rejection. They accept failure as a part of life and know that there’s a lesson to be learned in every setback.
- They set goals. They focus on what they want to achieve, establish priorities, and know what they have to do in order to keep moving forward. Their plans are flexible enough to allow for the unexpected, but they always have a specific destination in mind.