Our customers can be incredibly demanding, right? I mean they just want so many things from us as sales people. Let’s take an inventory of all the “asks” that customers make of us. They want product demos, pricing, proof of concepts (PoCs), technical architecture reviews, cyber security reviews, regulatory compliance validations, performance guarantees, user experience acceptance, customer references to speak with, negotiated discounts, contract terms and conditions negotiated, service level commitments, and superior customer service.
Wow, that’s a lot! But is that really what customers want from us? No, it isn’t. Those are all simply business processes that must be satisfied in order for the customer to be able to justify that they did a thorough and proper evaluation of possible technology solutions and vendors. And ultimately this serves as the proof as to why they decided to go with the product and company that they did to solve their critical business problems.
And the bigger the business problem is that we solve for our customers, there is a direct correlation to the rigor and amount of due diligence that they need to go through to get comfortable with the notion that you are the right company to partner with. In short, customers need to de-risk their business decisions. And the bigger the business decision or implications of the decision, the more demands they will make to you as a sales rep working hard to earn their business.
But I digress as the question still hasn’t been answered…What does the customer really want from you? They simply want to be heard and understood. They want you to listen and not cut them off mid-sentence and try to sell them something (i.e. good old-fashioned sales “bag diving”). They want you to ask them smart, insightful questions. They want to be convinced that you understand their needs. They want you to educate them on the art of what is possible in technology solving their acute business problems and challenges.
The customer wants you to demonstrate genuine empathy and care about how their business pain and challenges affects them personally. They want to partner with someone they trust. They want and need to trust you. Everything else is simply part of the pathway to earning trust with the customer.
Customers learn more about you from the questions that you ask than what you say. What customers remember is not what you said, rather it’s how you made them feel. Did you do your research? Are you well prepared? Are you teaching them something they don’t know about their business problems? Are you bringing real domain expertise to the table and are you delivering real commercial insights to the customer? This is how you build trust.
Top performing B2B software sales reps and sales teams fundamentally out discover their peers and competition. As a result, they have much deeper information to formulate a winning sales strategy. And oh, by the way, sometimes the best sales strategy is to walk if it is not a winnable deal and will be a waste of your precious sales resources.
The sales science of discovery, discernment and discovery is what you should build into every one of your custom sales playbooks and sales bootcamp trainings. It is quite simply the kernel of truth for learning how to build an exceptionally high performing enterprise software sales team.
The irony is that the complex B2B customer is desperately aching to find those rare sales teams that actually ask smart, insightful questions and then listen intently. And then divine insight or “discern” from what the customer is saying. It’s an easy way to differentiate yourself from the competition by listening and discerning. Rather than spewing features and techno babble.
Remember, customers learn more about you from the questions that you ask than what you say. How do you make your customers feel? Have you ever asked them?