As salespeople, we’re told we need to be confident. We take courses, read books, seek out mentors, and sift through countless articles searching for tips and tricks to help our sales process. All of these things are important. As I mentioned in my article “3 Ways to Stop Selling Like Stan” people buy from those they like and trust; it’s not all about the product.
But what if we’re not completely confident in the product we’re selling? How can we expect to exude certainty and convince our customers to buy if we wouldn’t buy the product ourselves? One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is, “would I buy, what I sell?”If the answer is YES, save yourself a few minutes and stop reading this article now. But if you have even an ounce of doubt regarding the value of what you’re selling, read below for a few tips to rebuild your belief.
Ask Your Best Customers
We all have (or at least should have) a select group of customers who we consider more friends than clients. These people have bought from us year after year and are true champions for our brand. They’re also people who we know will provide honest feedback, whether positive or negative. In an attempt to better understand the value of your products or services, ask your best clients why they buy from you. At first glance, this seems like an insane proposition. Why would you ever want to plant even the smallest seed of doubt in your best customer’s mind? The truth is, if you position this question properly, it will actually strengthen your relationship with the client as they see your efforts to improve your offerings. Tell your client your firm is looking to understand which products/services bring the most value to customers so you can continue to reinvest in those areas. This not only shows your firm’s commitment to excellence, but also let’s your client know how much you value their opinion and trust their insight.
Once you receive feedback from several clients, share the learnings with your product team and ensure they continue to focus/invest in the appropriate areas. This is the right thing to do for your business and it also shows your client that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is.
From a personal standpoint, gaining important feedback will reaffirm the value that you bring to clients, and let you know where you can improve. It will also boost confidence in what you sell and give you anecdotal stories to leverage for future sales.
Build Case Studies
Long gone are the days when a salesperson can get away with saying, “TRUST ME, this is going to work for you…” Buyers want to see proof. They know that measurement capabilities have improved and expect an estimated (or sometimes even guaranteed) ROI. If your company doesn’t have in-depth case studies, you should make it a priority to get these made as soon as possible. Effective case studies will help increase sales in the future while also helping to build confidence within your sales force.
While creating or advising on these case studies, remember the initial question, “would I buy what I sell?” Ensure that your case study addresses this question by creating proof points that truly show how much value your company provides. The case study should highlight as many stats and facts as possible, shying away from opinion.
If you’re having trouble creating the case study in a way that shows value, you may need to look at enhancing your measurement capabilities or improving your product overall.
For Managers: Regularly Evaluate Your Sales Team’s Confidence Level
Sales managers put an incredible amount of emphasis on the sales process, attempting to ensure their sales team is confident in their abilities. They invest heavily in sales training, use in-depth systems to track productivity, and focus on flashy marketing materials to impress clients. Although these systems and techniques are important, they all fall flat if the sales person isn’t confident in the product/service itself.
As a sales manager, it’s important to regularly meet with your individual salespeople and get a sense of their confidence in your offerings. Ask your team where they recommend improvement based on client feedback, and what you can do to ensure they stand behind your product/service 100%. These questions will help address areas of vulnerability and also show your staff that you value their opinion – a win-win.
While discussing this approach with several sales managers, I’ve been asked a common question, “how do you gauge your team’s confidence without it appearing as if you’re not confident yourself?”Obviously this takes a certain amount of finesse, but the best place to start is by emphasizing your commitment to improvement. This approach focuses less on what’s wrong and more on what could be better to further your superiority in the market.
A very well known sales trainer once told me, “if you don’t believe 100% in what you’re selling, you have one option… quit.” I understood his point. I mean how can you expect to sell something that you wouldn’t buy yourself? However, upon further evaluation of the dozens of salespeople I’ve worked with, I’ve come to realize that quite often, the problem is not with the product/service, but rather the firm’s inability to appropriately quantify the value. The simple steps above will help you significantly boost confidence in your products/services and allow you to stand wholeheartedly behind what you sell.