I think most business owners define themselves based on what they sell or what service they offer. A realtor will show you his listings and highlight the open atmosphere, the walk-in closets and large family room. The auto dealer will show you the latest models and tell you what the new options can do. Hopefully they have asked you some questions about why you are there in the first place before they even go into their sales pitch.
The first thing that needs to be acknowledged, and what is truly on the mind of those that inquire about your business, is that they have a problem that needs to be fixed, and if they don’t offer that up at the beginning of your first meeting, it is your job to drive the conversation in that direction. Most things that are purchased are done so to resolve a problem.
When you meet a new prospect or in working with your current customers, if you don’t know what is keeping them awake at night, then you have no idea what your customer needs, so you don’t truly know what to offer. All too often what we do in place of that knowledge is data dump and that is as unattractive as it sounds. You just dump everything you know about your product and hope that something resonates. That rarely impresses anyone.
It’s the oldest advice in selling, but it’s as true as ever. Before you tell your customer one thing about what you do, find out what his problems are. Confirm with them that you heard what they are saying and then, if and only if you truly have the solutions they need, affirm with them that you can help them, and then you can start the work of building a solution.
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