The statistic that gets thrown around the most these days as it pertains to social selling is that buyers are spending 50%-70% of the buying process conducting online research before deciding who to call.
The internet has caused this change as it allows buyers to be more informed about vendors, sellers, products, technology substitutes, competitors and industry influencers.
Buyers (you are a buyer sometimes too!) are playing by the new rules and doing research without having to talk to a sales person — until necessary.
The question is, therefore, as sellers, are we too, abiding by the new rules?
The Seller’s 50% – What You Need to Know
What about the seller’s 50%? What are we supposed to be doing during that time? Have a cup of coffee, feet propped up on our desk, waiting for the call, while the seller does 50% of the work we used to have to do?
If only it were that simple. Instead of spending the first 50% informing our buyers over the phone, we need to be spending that time learning the same things our buyer is learning.
3 Sales Tips for Conquering the “Self-Educating Economy”
1. Assess what the prospect already knows.
When you get a prospect on the phone, the first thing you need to do is to know what’s in their head so you can approach the prospect appropriately. If they’re highly informed about their choices and about your product, give them the remaining details they need to be convinced. If they’re misinformed, correct the information. If they actually don’t know anything, be prepared to start at the beginning. (I’m guilty of thinking people know more than they do and then missing the mark.)
Have a set of assessment questions so you know where you stand before going into the conversation.
Inbound vs. Outbound
If it’s an inbound lead, assessing what they know is critical. If it’s an outbound prospect, assessing what they know is critical. In both cases, you need to know where you stand.
Imagine you’re playing a board game and you either have to play from the start or possibly later while the game is already in progress.
The more you conduct a proper assessment, the better you’ll know how likely it is you’re going to close the deal.
I find the more informed potential clients are when they reach me, the better chance I have at getting the business. In most cases, they’ve already done their due diligence, and we’re closer to closing a deal.
2. Know as much as they do.
Here’s the big not-so-secret-secret. You have the same access to the information your buyer is getting about vendors, sellers, products, technology substitutes for your service, competitors and industry influencers.
You won’t be able to assess what they know if you don’t know as much, or more than they do. How can you fight objections on topics, solutions and alternatives you know nothing about?
I know I get very frustrated when I want to buy something but I just need a little convincing its better than X product and the sales person has no idea. If they convince me their product is the best within the context of all the information I’ve provided, they have my business.
3. Know as much about them as they know about you.
Always know as much about them as they probably know about you. Think about online dating. If both people know something about each other before the date, there’s a higher chance the two people will get along.
The more you know about someone, they more relevant you can be in your conversation. And the more relevant you can make your solution to their problem, the more likely you’ll get the business.
If you want to win in today’s selling environment, you’ve got to differentiate yourself. One of the ways to do that is to be as informed about your product and alternatives as your customer.
People are looking for a strategic partner and an advisor who can help them filter out the information they don’t need to know and narrow in on the right solution for them. If you’re as self-educated as your buyer, you can dramatically increase your chances of winning the deal.
Celina Guerrero is founder of Los Angeles-based social sales strategy and training company, Social to Sales. She helps consultants, lawyers, financial and technology services professionals in Southern California and nationally transform their expertise into revenue.
Interested in learning more? Contact Celina at 310-994-8099, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up for our weekly e-news and blog updates by clicking HERE!