Phone sales doesn’t work for you because you think you need to sell a customer something. Your whole object in picking up the phone was to persuade the person on the other end of the line to buy your product or service. On the other hand, your prospect is unhappy and defensive. The former because you just interrupted their day, and the latter because of bad experiences in the past, and a natural skepticism of taking advice from someone they don’t know. Think of your language – full of “us” and “I” plus the name of your company. Think of your presentation, stuffed full of features, ladled with superlative language. All the while the hapless prospect half-heartedly listens, while mostly trying to figure out how to gracefully end the call.
The reality is – your job is to help your customer buy.
Business-to-business buyers purchase solutions to help their businesses grow, cut costs, or improve. Buying the right things at the right time is part of their job. They get paid to make good procurement decisions. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment. If they make a wrong decision, and purchase a solution that doesn’t work, they could be in hot water. Many buyers are cautious, and careful, and politically sensitive to the blame that cascades abundantly in the direction of a buyer who makes a bad investment.
And then you call.
What do you offer this cautious buyer? You know your product or service; therefore, you can explore the buyer’s business issues for opportunities to deploy your solutions to improve the buyer’s firm. Buyers are great self-educators today; they know how to search the internet for data, so provide information. Provide context to data. Provide interpretation, and connect the buyer’s business issues with your solutions. Don’t make the buyer draw the connection, that’s your job as the salesperson. To first listen to their business issues, and then to make the connection to your offerings.
If you weren’t feeling well and visited a doctor, you’d be offended if the physician walked into the patient room and without examining you, began immediately writing out a prescription. You’d worry the medicine might not fit your ailment. You’d fret about side effects, the cost, that you wouldn’t get better. You’d be concerned your friends or significant other would think you were crazy to trust such a practitioner.
To the business buyer, you’re the doctor. You have the power of prescription, and you have a medicine chest chock full of solutions just waiting for the right application. But you must diagnose first, before you prescribe. If you don’t its sales malpractice.