Sales Coach: Great Sales Reps Pour the Salt

360px-gregg_popovich_speaks_at_the_white_house_2015-01-12_croppedYou’ve heard it a thousand times:

  • You’ve gotta find the buyer’s pain!  
  • Sell a painkiller!  
  • Ask questions to uncover the buyer’s pain!

This actually isn’t that hard to do — most of the time the prospect will do this for you the first few minutes in the call:

  • I’m looking for a product to do X.
  • We’ve been working with X and it wasn’t great.
  • I need to get more efficient at X.

Pretty easy to infer pain from statements like these.  The trick is what you do from here.

Average sales reps hear this pain and assume that they’re good.  Good sales reps hear this pain and exploit it immediately.  Great sales reps hear the pain, exploit it, and then add salt to the wound.

Let’s use a specific example that came up at RevBoss this week:

The Prospect:  I’ve been using Competitor ABC.  Their product is really complicated and really expensive.  This feature in particular is a pain and doesn’t solve my problem.

An average sales rep hears this and thinks:

  • I know I can win on price because we’re less expensive.
  • I know that our feature works way better and they’ll love it.
  • This is a great prospect!

…and then keeps the call moving forward.  The average rep assumes that the prospect already knows that RevBoss is less expensive and assumes that they’ll get a chance to highlight the big feature difference.  In other words, they hear a little pain, check the box, and move on.

A good sales rep hears this and thinks the exact same thing, but then turns the thoughts into action by:

  • Asking the prospect why they bought Competitor ABC in the first place.
  • Asking the prospect how much they are paying for Competitor ABC.
  • Asking why the feature was problematic.

…and then keeps the call moving forward armed with more intelligence to frame the demo and get the deal over the line.  They get the prospect to state the pain, quantify it a bit, and advance the convo with an inside edge.

A great sales rep hears this, asks probing questions, and THEN POURS SALT ON THE GAPING WOUND:

  • How many cycles are you wasting because of this wonky feature?
  • What kind of return are you getting from the investment?
  • Oh wow — how is that?

…and then keeps the call moving forward having gotten the prospect to state their pain, quantify it, and then wallow around in it for a while.

The key here is to ask the questions in such a way that the prospect states the implication on their own — doing so makes it “real” and creates the opportunity for you to ask the next (super salty!) question that makes the pain burn.

In summary:

  • Find the pain.
  • Get the prospect to state and quantify.