In this guest post by Certified Go-Giver Coach and Business Growth Authority Doug Wagner, you’ll learn how to move the selling process from non-productive to very productive…through a simple crossing of the bridge of value. Powerful!!
Enjoy Doug’s wisdom! – Bob Burg
I was conducting some sales training over a period of 3 days this past fall and observed something happening repeatedly during the practice sessions. When I reflected on my own observations of sales meetings from both sides — as client and as trainer — I realized that this mistake was more prevalent than I thought.
If we look at the steps of the sales process (based on Harry Browne’s book, “The Secret of Selling Anything”) we note the following:
- Discover their motivation
- Summarize the motivation
- Present your solution
- Answer questions
- Close the sale
My observation is that after establishing rapport with a prospect, well over 80% of sales people either totally skip, or superficially gloss over, steps 1 and 2. They jump directly to step 3; present your solution.
This is likely based on several assumptions:
- Everyone can use your product or service. For example, a networking or referral exchange organization assumes that any business needs networking and specifically, their networking club.
- If you present your product or service well enough, you can convince anyone to buy.
- Discovering the motivation is hard or they won’t answer my questions.
Harry Browne is absolutely clear on one point. If you skip any of the steps of the sale the likelihood of a prospect buying are very low. If they won’t answer any questions, you haven’t created any trust and they probably won’t buy.
They simply have not connected a problem with your solution.
If we look at the buying pyramid, only about 3% of people are actively seeking out a product or service at any one time. Roughly another 7% are sitting on the edge and might buy if the offer is compelling enough. At best you have a 1 in 10 chance of talking to someone who might buy if you leave motivation to chance.
If we look at the bigger issue, we haven’t identified a problem. So it becomes extremely difficult to communicate value. You now have a small fraction of a 1 in 10 chance of closing a sale.
People buy value or solutions to problems. If you can’t communicate value the only measurement is price. So they will look at lots of other competitors looking for the best price. Create enough value and you won’t have that issue. Ultimately you want to move them up the pyramid.
Value is both quantifiable and subjective.
If you don’t bridge the value for your prospect, you are relying on the fraction of the 10% who might be interested in buying a solution making the leap across the river gorge to the full value of YOUR solution; all on their own. They probably won’t make that jump.
The Productive Alternative
You make a bridge to value for the prospect by asking great questions.
So what are the 5-10 questions that would reveal if your prospect would be a good match for your offering?
You can get into more details depending on how they answer, but you shouldn’t really need more than 5-10 great questions to reveal the need for your product or service.
The questions tell you where the bridge needs to start and where it needs to end up.
You then confirm that the problem is worth solving or the value is big enough by summarizing it and getting the prospect to agree they need to get from here to there.
When you get to your customized presentation, you are literally walking them across the bridge you are building for them.
You are presenting the best path to get them safely over the gorge and the raging river below (the problem, pain or desired benefit) to a solution.
Crossing the bridge to the full value of your solution requires a guide… you are that person.
Wonderful article here Doug Wagner! Crossing the value bridge is the best way to communicate value effectively….not to mention, close more deals! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks A.M. It is definitely in the communication.
Thoroughly enjoyed the reminder. Soooo much better than the “bridge to nowhere!” Thank you.
Yes, the bridge to nowhere would not be productive at all. Thanks Jill.
Great blog Doug! I like how you spotlight skipping over 1-2 in the sales process by leaping to the “your solution” stage. At this point the bridge collapses and no real value is delivered. Thanks!
Thanks Gary. Relying on prospects to build their own bridges is spotty at best. Like the collapsing metaphor.
Thank you everyone who truly believes the “I can’t But WE CAN”
I heard Simon Sinek speak a few years ago. Start With Why. It was a four year journey that landed on We not Me. Over time I have witnessed the culture of my REMAX office grow in a journey of “we”.
I’m thankful as well that Tom Davis set The Go Giver on the corner of my desk last Oct. I had just finished reading Good to Great. The Go Giver was the perfect sequel. Thank you Tom.