Partner Selling is simply helping others to buy. Partner Selling is caring enough about your prospect to see the world from their view.Partner Selling is expending the additional effort to understand the pain your prospects are experiencing and helping them to see, understand, or experience how your product or service will easily alleviate their current pain.
Your prospects, like everyone else, are in some kind of pain. Your job is to uncover their pain. Understand how your product or service will solve their pain. Then translate the product or service features into benefits in such a way that your prospect will absolutely understand how accepting your offer will relieve their pain and make their life better.
The PARTNERS model for selling success:
You must uncover, understand, and translate the pain your customer is experiencing. This is the first and most important aspect of selling. Without this knowledge, you might as well try to play basketball in a light-less gymnasium. To move your customer to a buying decision, you must have a strong understanding of their core issues—this is generally from where their pain emanates. Better than pushing a product or service on others; have a vision of how your product or service will solve the pain of your prospects and make their life better.
Access your customer’s attention. This is done with a powerful opening statement. “May I help you?” is not a powerful opening statement. You want to break their preoccupation barrier, hook their attention and make it clear to your prospect that you have something of value to offer. To access the real, or hidden, need of your prospect, you must get them talking. And, you must focus on active listening. If you are trying to convert someone away from their current supplier, try asking the following two questions. Ask, “What is it you find helpful about Company X?” Get them talking. When they are relaxed and chatting about how wonderful their current supplier is, make the transition. Ask, “Is there any area where Company X could improve?” If they answer your second question, listen carefully—you just struck gold!
You, your offer, your product or service must be relevant to the needs of your customer. Too often, I have observed sales people acting like a “Features Jockey” where they spend so much time trying to impress their prospect with their product knowledge that the prospect doesn’t have the time or energy to buy. Too much information can be like trying to catch a little breeze in a blasting wind tunnel. Do not make the mistake of blowing your prospect over with a blast of information when they only need and want a little buying push. If you did well in accessing the real situation, making it relevant should be a breeze.
Translate features into benefits. You cannot leave it to chance that your prospects will figure out for themselves how your offer will make their lives better. Tell them! They must clearly understand how your product or service can end their pain. Do the work—take the time to be clear yourself on how your product or service helps your customers. Ask satisfied customers themselves and then use their stories. Force your sales manager, VP of sales or anyone else at your company to tell you more about how you help people or organizations. The more you learn about how your offer helps people, the more you can share.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the cutting edge science of sales psychology. It is the connection between neurological processes (‘neuro’), language (‘linguistic’) and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (‘programming’) and that can be organized to achieve specific goals. This skill is important to your success. Use it to communicate with your prospect in a style that will foster instant rapport. NLP is the study of how the brain learns and through which strategies: auditory, visual and/or kinesthetic. The key is to have the ability to recognize the preferred learning strategy of your prospect and mirror that strategy in your communication. If you do this, your prospect’s brain basically says, “This person is like me. I like me. I like this person.” The result will be a stunning subliminal connection.
The emotional connection you create with your prospects is essential to success. Many of the ideas listed above will help you to develop an emotional connection. People buy from who they like and trust. Understand buyer acquisition motives and you’ll achieve this emotional connection. Never forget that people buy based on emotion and then use logic to justify their buying decision. Think back to one of your own impulse purchases. For some reason, you were drawn to make the purchase—that’s emotion. Then you came up with some kind of justification for the purchase—that’s logic. Use this to help your prospects remove their pain.
Remove their objections. You can do this by using your NLP skills to anchor your prospects positive feelings towards how your offering will make their lives better. This is most effective when they finally reveal their smoke screen objectives. Usually, an objection is simply an indication that you attempted to close the sale before you demonstrated the overwhelming value they will receive in doing business with you. You just need to better demonstrate how your product or service will remove the pain they are currently enduring. If you’ve already done all the other necessary elements, this should be a very small part of the selling process. If you get stuck here, go back to the two questions I suggested you ask in the Access paragraph.
Always focus on solving pain—be the solution rather than the problem. This focus will keep you on task. Throughout the PARTNERSmodel, you are simply moving closer to pain extraction. Do this by skillfully helping them to understand just how easily they can have a better life by using your product or service. Generally, if you have done your selling job correctly, you do not need tricky closes. The close is the natural progression of the relationship building that you have achieved in helping your prospect. Pain extraction equals plentiful sales.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.