Whether you realize it or not, you likely experience someone giving you a sales pitch just about every day. I experienced one yesterday and I was very impressed with the sales person’s approach so I thought it might be good to point out some of the things he did well.
I was in the process of getting a new mobile phone and open to also changing service providers as part of the transaction. I went to the incumbent provider first and then went to one of their direct competitors after to have a comparison and understand some of my options. This is a review of my experience at the direct competitor and five things that I think the sales person did real well in his sales pitch.
1. He started out by focusing on me.
When I walked into the store, I was greeted by a sales person. As part of his greeting, he had a few questions for me. Pretty standard, but it was not just a question of “What brings you in today?”
He did ask that, but he actually went beyond that asking me a lot questions and clearly making an effort to learn about me and what was going on. We stood there just off to the side of the entry way for about ten minutes before we transition to another area or topic.
2. He asked very good pre-qualifying questions.
As part of his effort to focus on me, he asked me good pre-qualifying questions to determine why I was looking to make a change, who I was currently with, and what I was looking for. When I went to my current service provider, the sales person did not ask me any questions in his sales pitch and did not try to learn about my current situation and what direction I wanted to go.
3. He disqualified me.
When asking me questions, he learned that I am on an old unlimited data plan that is no longer offered and something that is fairly hard to compete directly with. At this point, he did a fairly advanced tactic and that was to say a disqualify statement or use a takeaway.
He did this by saying:
That is a pretty good plan. Are you sure you want to give that up?
This is a pretty powerful tactic to do because you are basically making a statement that sells the prospect on why the might not move forward with a purchase and when you do this, you can identify if the prospect is serious about moving forward.
4. He did not have a product/feature sales pitch.
In many cases, as soon as the sales person finds out you are interested in purchasing a phone (or the product that they sell) they then jump right to the product/feature pitch. In this case, that would be to lead me over to the phones that are on display and begin to show me all of the latest models and features.
This sales rep did not do that. He had more of a prospect sales pitch than a product sales pitch and this is where many sales people go wrong.
By the way, it is worth point out that the sales person from the current provider did just this (product pitch) in that as soon as he learned I was looking for a phone, he walked me straight over to the smartphone section and began to show me phones without asking me much about my needs and interests.
Want to see an example of how this approach is not optimum? This sales person leads with showing me a model that has two cameras which enables great functionality when taking pictures. He was expecting me to be impressed but I wasn’t because I actually rarely use the camera on my phone. He did not know that because he did not know much about me.
5. He focused on differentiation.
Once he completed a little discovery about me, he began to shift toward talking about what he had to offer. But he still did not walk me over to the phones. He took me to the side and he focused on communicating how he is different than the competition.
If you think about it, the phones are relatively the same regardless of provider so it really does not improve his position by talking about those. He had some clear differences and he went to those as a the next step in his sales pitch.
6. He worked hard to customize a solution.
Based on the information that he gathered in terms of my requirements and what I was looking for, he put together a solution that was attractive and one the was more competitive than the competition. (We still have not looked at phones at this point)
7. He was not too pushy.
Throughout the process, he was informative and consultative, but he was never aggressive or pushy in his sales pitch. We did reach a point where I left without making a purchase because there was one thing that I had to research before being able to move forward.
I communicated to him what the next step would be and he did not try to overcome that or challenge that even though it did not align with his hopes as to what the next step would be.
The Deal Closed.
After I completed my research, I went out of my way to return to the same store and made the purchase with him. He closed the deal based on the following reasons:
- The overall solution that he proposed
- The positioning that he performed against the competition
- The rapport that he built through the process through a consultative selling approach
Let’s stop think about the product that is being sold here – a mobile phone. A very commoditized product – many different phones available that all primarily perform the same functions and many different providers that offer the same overall services. The sale is also could be seen as more of a transactional sale.
Yet, we are still able to break it down and apply all of the following concepts to improve results:
- Making it more about your prospect
- Asking good questions
- Listening to your prospects
- Understanding the competition involved
- Focusing on your differentiation
- Customizing a solution based on the prospects needs
If these concepts can influence a transactional sale, think about the impact they can have on large enterprise opportunities. They can be the difference between failure and success.
Apply some of those to your sales pitch as you try to improve your game.