You believe in the products you sell; you need that belief to do what you do. But when that belief, rather than certain knowledge, guides the specific solutions you offer and the way you present them, you might fail to make the linkage between the customer’s problem and what you believe to be the best solution. Critical Thinking will help get you back on track toward the close.
If you honestly do your best to listen to the customer’s needs and offer solutions that fit those needs, you should win every time. But sales often stall out when buyers can’t see how their problems are going to be solved.
It takes solid critical thinking to make a well-reasoned argument that shows cause-and-effect progression from problem happening to problem solved. Sellers may fail to lay it out in a way that buyers can see and believe because:
The seller is not confident that the solution will actually solve the problem.
The seller does not have technical understanding and is afraid to get too deep in the details.
The seller is presenting generic features and expecting the buyer to do benefit translations.
The seller does not understand the buyer’s specific needs.
The seller assumes the buyer already understands how the solution will work.
The seller is engaging in lazy thinking and hasn’t done the mental work to connect the dots.
The seller is scattered or unstructured in presenting the solution.
Sometimes, the seller fails to connect the dots because there aren’t connections. The seller is trying to make a sale that isn’t right for the buyer. More often, though, it’s one of the oversights above that prevents a buyer from understanding how the solution will address their problem.
Are You Making Strong Enough Links between Buyer Needs and Your Solution?
Beware of false causality and making links that aren’t valid! Buyers will assume that you’re trying to pull a fast one. They won’t feel they can trust you if your connections are airtight.
When you’re trying to solve a problem, lazy thinking and shortcuts may lead to illogical, superstitious, or poorly-reasoned choices. To become better at solving problems, build your critical thinking skills for nailing down the true links between cause and effect.
Cause-and-effect has to be presented in a way that buyers can understand. Even if you’re not engaging in logical fallacies like false causality, you could be failing to connect the dots.
Why Buyers Don’t Fully Understand the Links You’re Trying to Make
It may be crystal clear to you. You’re offering a solution to the buyer’s problem, and it seems like a no-brainer. So why isn’t the buyer buying?
In interviews following sales calls, buyers who say “no” frequently report that they didn’t really see how the proposed solution was going to solve their problem. Sellers, however, seem oblivious to this disconnect. They rate themselves highly on the work they’ve done to craft and present solid solutions.
What’s missing are clear links that explain why a solution has been selected and how it addresses the buyer’s need. Usually, the seller assumes this is clear and does a poor job of spelling it out for the buyer. That’s because, to the seller, it’s obvious and easy to understand. Sellers sometimes forget that the buyer isn’t immersed in the same details and perspective that the seller is.
Buyers seldom do the work of coming behind the seller to try and connect those dots. They might ask a couple of questions, but they don’t work very hard to grasp the connections if the seller hasn’t showcased them.
Ensuring You Deliver a Value Statement That the Buyer Accepts as Valid
To make sure you’re logically, clearly and compellingly connecting the dots for your buyer, use a simple Value Statement like this one:
1. Based upon what you have told me, a problem that is affecting your revenue is the difficulty of having your customers, most of whom are distant from your offices, correctly complete and sign your purchase agreement.
2. You are introducing your Phantom product line in about three months and need an improved way to close contracts as part of that product roll-out.
3. Having a convenient and effective way for your customers to fill in the missing details and then sign your agreement would ensure greater order accuracy, accelerate order closings and reduce the percentage of order abandonment.
4. To address each of these issues, we are recommending our Acme Brand Docusell online program that addresses each of your goals in these ways: (details)
5. Here are the ways each of these features of Docusell will address each of your goals.
In this example, the sales team covers the five essential components of an effective Value Statement, which is totally customized for each prospect:
1. Your goal is to: _________
Measurable, specific objectives that have been stated by the customer. (Gets the prospect nodding Yes, you guys heard me)
2. By: _________
Specific timeframe or date the customer has told you. (Reinforces the customer’s need to make a decision now)
3. Accomplishing this goal will help you by: _________
Highly personalized benefit in buyer’s own words.
4. That is why we are recommending: _________
(specific product/service you are recommending)
5. Which provides: _________
Features and benefits relevant to this customer, (Firmly and accurately links your solution to all aspects of the problem)
Your successful presentation leading to close requires you to completely and accurately fill in all these blanks. If you aren’t able to, it means you don’t have enough information, or you haven’t done the mental work to show cause-and-effect logic.