Too often sales professionals lose sales because their prospects cannot see the difference between their product and their competitor’s solution. Thus price becomes the determining factor on who wins the sale. Savvy sales professionals who desire to differentiate their products and services from their competitors should take a second looking at brainstorming techniques and ways to leverage them during the sales process.
WHICH HAT DO YOU WEAR?
In his book, “Six Thinking Hats” Edward De Bono describes a brainstorming method in which a different colored hat represents a different mode of thinking.
Everyone in the brainstorming session “wears” the same color hat and then switches to a new color. Alternatively, team members can also “wear” different colored hats during the brainstorming session as well. Here’s the kind of thinking each “hat” should contribute:
WHITE – information, facts, figures, data, details, analysis
PURPLE – feelings, emotions, hunches, intuition,
RED – negatives: faults, problems, issues, dangers, threats
YELLOW – positives: benefits, features, values, assets, return on investment
GREEN – creatively, imagination, innovation, new ideas
BLUE – big picture, organizing other hats and ideas
For more information on his brainstorming process visit him at http://www.edwdebono.com/.
BRAINSTORMING IN THE SELLING PROCESS
Let me give you an example of how and when sales professionals might use brainstorming during the sales process.
Typically the first step in the selling process is to qualify the buyer using a standard qualifying matrix. For example, smart sales professionals will ask questions to uncover the prospects true buying motivations (their pain points or goals and objectives), their budget (available financial resources), their authority (who the decision makers are and what process they use to make buying decisions) and any technical product requirements needed to insure the solution will be a good fit.
The next step, after the sales professional more fully understands the needs of the prospect, is to put together a proposal or set up a product demo for the buyer. This is where de Bono’s brainstorming techniques might come into play.
Prior to sending out a proposal or running the prospect through a product demo, it may make sense to spend some time with your internal team first. Using the brainstorming strategies de Bono suggests, the internal team works to develop, refine and adjust their “standard” solution into a truly “custom solution” for the prospect. Armed with a genuinely custom solution for their prospect, the sales professional in now in a much stronger competitive position to win the sale. If you are looking for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, use brainstorming to create custom solutions, rather than selling the same old “look-a-like” stuff the competition is selling based on price alone.
Taking some extra time in a short brainstorming session with your internal team can remove many of the defects or issues that may create friction for the buyer. By slowing down the sales process just a bit to adjust the solution, you will increase the likelihood that you will win the sale.
Terry L. Hansen is a popular speaker, consultant, trainer, and author on helping sales and customer service teams improve their ability to create value for their prospects and clients. He is regularly asked to train organizations on strategies to find more prospects, close more sales, and increase customer loyalty. You can follow or connect with Terry on Twitter (@TerryLHansen) or on LinkedIn (Linkedin.com/in/TerryLHansen). To contact Terry please email Terry@HansenGroupCompany.com or by calling 844-205-5054.