Improve Your Next Sale Through More Effective Information Gathering
If you are a serious salesperson, you would never attempt to wing a sales pitch with no prior knowledge. Gathering as much information as possible before any sale is a vital ingredient to success. Are you gathering a sufficient amount of information to take your sales journey to the next level?
Efficient information gathering will not only make you the smartest person in the conference room, it will generate a better relationship with prospects, leveraging a faster sale.
It will help you position yourself and your product as the smartest solution to the client’s specific problem. Excellent research allows you to modify how you position your product/service so you can more precisely tailor your message to the client’s exact requirements.
We’ve gathered a few tips to help you get the most valuable information possible before you make your pitch, and how you can use these tips to significantly improve your sales performance.
Thinking about investing in sales training? Start by asking these 3 questions.
Know Yourself, Know Your Worth
“In order to be an excellent salesperson, you must know your product.” Okay, thank you captain obvious. While this kernel of wisdom may seem exceedingly straightforward, it is often undervalued.
There is a huge difference between just knowing the product and conveying that information in a way that is valuable to the prospect. Even when a technical expert becomes a salesperson, very specific product knowledge needs to be applied to the prospect. When we become too close to our product, we may find certain information or benefits too obvious to explain to a client. However, what is clear-cut to you may fly right over the head of a less-informed client.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may come off as TOO technical in a pitch. When one is extremely well versed in a product, it’s easy to get stuck in a pitch with a lot of industry jargon. This also has the potential to turn off a prospect. This can make a customer feel left out of the conversation. You do not want prospects to feel like they need to have a degree in whatever you're discussing just to understand your product and its unique benefits.
A good way to find the perfect balance between too informational and too vague is to check in with yourself. Always ask, “So what?” Why should your prospect care? Why does it matter? What can you do for them? Make this the knowledge you are ready to clearly convey. Every feature a salesperson knows needs something to convey the value that the prospect will receive.
Another technique to try is to approach the process of learning your product from the perspective of a potential customer.
- What would they want to know?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they care about the most?
Learn the product from the customer’s perspective. Use words and phrases that are familiar to them so your message is more likely to resonate. Ultimately, this leads to building better relationships and winning more sales.
Know Your Prospect
A prospect does not want to feel like they are talking to a complete stranger. Respectively, you will feel far more confident talking to a potential buyer when you are well informed. Besides knowing who they are, know what they need and want. Don’t just ask open-ended questions, ask the right questions. Use everything they say as building blocks for your pitch.
Understand their situation, specific circumstances, and goals.
- What specific issues are they having?
- What do they hope to achieve or solve with the help of your service?
- What is the best way you can help them?
This information will help you construct a buyer persona, which in turn makes it easier to fit your product to their reality. Similar to the approach you should take when studying your own product; walk a mile in your prospects shoes to gain useful insight.
Know Their Company
Now that you’ve learned your product and your prospect, it’s time to get acquainted with their company. Remember, your prospect is only one extension of a greater, larger organism also known as their company. Do not assume that just because you have gathered a ton of information about this client that you fully understand their company.
Find out what other solutions the company is considering. Have they ever worked with a company like yours before? If so, what went wrong? Were there any obstacles?
Next, identify the company’s primary decision maker. Every organization has a top dog with a heavy influence on the decision making process. Check in with yourself. Ask: Who else would normally be involved in the decision journey? What is the best way to engage them?
This information will help you to decide the next best step for your engagement with this prospect and their organization. Be sure to have a solid plan of exactly what you will discuss and review in your next meeting.
React vs. Respond
It can be easy to respond to a question with an automatic answer when you are talking about a topic you are familiar with. However, you don’t want your brain to work as simply as Google’s search auto fill feature. When you anticipate answers, there is an almost robotic response if you’ve heard them before.
Prospects don’t want to feel like they’re talking to an AI chat bot; people want a genuine conversation with real time reactions to their questions and concerns. Even giving a prospect a cookie cutter answer you’ve used in the past can come off as quite off putting and ambivalent. This approach will not allow you to address your prospect’s unique pain points in your responses. Even worse, the customer may think you’ve been ignoring their inquiries throughout the buying process!
A great way to show true interest in a prospect’s situation is to generate a few questions for your next meeting. Try to base these questions on conversations you’ve had with your client from the previous meeting. This will help make the conversation flow easily and become more natural.
In the end, why is a good information gathering strategy vital for better sales performance? As we have seen above, a good strategy will help you properly prepare and know the right questions to ask during your next sales meeting..
Why Change Your Strategy Now?
Nothing improves by itself. We need to make adjustments and do things differently to make that happen. It’s never too late to teach an old dog a new trick. Trying new ways will help you better prepare for your next sales meeting, and improve your overall sales performance. The time to start changing for the better is now!
Okay, so we’ve won you over and you’re ready to learn more about best practices for gathering information. Check out this eBook to see if your company needs sales training.
About Jennifer Clark
Jennifer Clark is a senior International Studies student at Fordham University and a Content Marketing & Social Media Intern with DMTraining. Prior to joining the DMTraining team, Jennifer helped various start-ups market themselves on and off campus. This summer, she hopes to add value to DMTraining by assisting clients with digital media education, using her status as an industry newcomer to her advantage. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys creative writing, making art, and petting every dog she comes across.