Have you ever dropped money on a fortune teller and then realized that her predictions of imminent success, a hot blonde on your arm (man or woman — your choice), and the reappearance of your long lost uncle were all complete and utter bull? It was probably after you left and found out she told your friend the exact same thing.
It’s the same with sales — while none of us out there can really predict the future for our prospects or customers (a few savants come close, hello Warren Buffet), we can do our best to find out as much as possible about them to make a very well-educated guess. And just as you sussed out your fortune teller, your prospects will be able to tell if you’re a phony or lazy based on how much effort you put into identifying and anticipating their needs.
So what’s the one trick to selling big fucking deals? (Well, the one trick besides downloading our stellar app that helps you build rapport and make more money.)
Align Yourself With What The Customer Is Trying To Achieve
Knowing your customer’s goals and anticipating their needs is the most crucial element in closing big deals. How do you do that? Align yourself with what your customer is trying to achieve.
I had a client who sold really high-end medical equipment into hospitals. When we started talking with them, they faced competitive pressures because their products were being copied — and sold at a dramatic discount — by some new competitors based in China.
Our initial engagement didn’t have anything to do with their competitive positioning, but all throughout the sales process we asked them questions and showed them ways that we could help them fight off these new competitors. We tapped into their concerns by helping them learn more about their client base — some preliminary research and collaborative brainstorming went a long way and we ended up landing a huge deal with them.
The secret here is that you can’t just ask — you have to learn their goals and objectives. Bounce ideas off of customers or prospects and take initiative by coming to them equipped with your own research. For example, Google their investor presentations and press releases and use Yahoo Finance to see if the company is growing or contracting.
Keep These Three Things In Mind
While doing all these Jedi mind tricks, always keep this in mind to guide you: at the end of the day, businesses only care about making profits, and there are only three ways to impact profits:
- Cutting Costs
It’s in your (and your customer’s) best interest to find out how they are trying to achieve these three goals — by making products? finding new clients? According to a 2014 report published in the Harvard Business Review, the nature of B2B sales is changing because more and more salespeople are asking these questions. Here’s one of their findings:
By making specific recommendations to individual customers — and providing the reasons for those recommendations — the salesperson moves the discussion from commodity products to value-added services.
Ask yourself how bad you want those big deals and then ask yourself how well you know your customer or prospect. If you haven’t already, get on the wagon and find out as much as you can about your customer’s goals. Follow this one trick and your future will be so bright you’ll have more elephants to your name than anyone in your company.