Step 4. Perceived Problems
The purpose of this step is to:
• Identify the prospect’s needs
• Truly understand the person’s fears and desires
• Define the “perceived” problem
Every prospect has a “problem.” As my new friend Steve McKnight, the
number one real estate investing author in Australia, pounded on in the
workshops we did together in Australia: “What business is every business
owner in? The problem-solving business!”
What problem do you solve? There are plenty of people who offer the
product or service you do, so you’ve got to drill down to solve the problem
they have. Speaking of drill, no one want wants to buy a quarter inch drill
bit, they want a quarter inch hole. Their problem is they need a hole. They
only need a drill bit because they need a hole. If there was a different way to
get the quarter inch hole they need, they would not need a drill bit! Your job
as a sales professional is to uncover why they need a quarter inch hole!
Even if you’re selling a private jet to someone who already owns three
Lear jets, you are still solving a problem. Obviously, the man’s problem is that
he does not feel he has enough jets! And maybe he doesn’t. You need to find
out why he wants or needs another jet.
This step is where the sale is truly made because through the power of
asking questions, you are going to uncover and identify the prospect’s true
needs. Many times prospects don’t understand their true needs. They know
they need a product or service or they want something. They may or may not
know what they are looking for and they may or may not know what will
best suit them. Also, you may be higher priced or different from what they
are looking for, so instead of just throwing your offer out there, you want to
be in a position to ask questions.
Being in that position gives you a huge advantage if you know how to
ask questions. You can now get feedback. In marketing, you’ve got to “tell” a
lot. You’ve got to anticipate the objections and try and overcome them in the
marketing message. Or, you’ve got to invite them into a sales situation so that
you can have a conversation. In a sales situation, you can now ask questions
instead of assuming what the needs and objections are.
This is done with a series of good questions. Remember that you are
interviewing the prospect to determine whether your product or service is
the right ft for them, and you are interviewing them to determine what their
true needs are so you can get them into the right product or service.
Let’s imagine for a second that you are selling lawn mowers. Instead of
just spouting of the features of all the lawnmowers (leaving the prospect
baffled and confused), you would ask a series of questions, like:
• Do you currently own a lawn mower?
• Are you planning on using it yourself, or will other family members use it as well?
• How big is your yard?
• Are there lots of trees?
• Have you thought about what you want in a lawnmower?
Of course you would have many more questions than this, but you can
clearly see the difference between what I just did and what most so-called
sales people do.
The key here is to ask questions and then listen. Have you ever wondered
why God gave you two ears and one mouth?
Step four is all about solving the issue they reveal and it is your point of
reference from now on. Follow what they say to you with:
• What I hear you saying is…
• So, it’s important to you that…
• Do you mind telling me more about…?
• Is there anything else you would like me to know?
I have found that doing this well can even cause prospects to ask if they
can go ahead and buy! Why is that? Because no one else will listen to them!
They are asking if they can buy from me and I haven’t even asked for the sale!
They don’t even know the price yet! You have to admit, that’s pretty doggone
Step 5. Outline Solution
If you have done a good job identifying the emotional needs and desires,
you can now offer the right solution. But not too fast. You still don’t get to
spew your features. Sorry! Instead, what you are going to do in this stage
is feedback what they have told you in the interview and confirm that they
agree with the solution. Here are some rules to follow in this step:
Be a Consultant.
Approach the sales process as a consultant. You have shared your five point marketing message and positioned yourself as the consultant. You
have generated clients rather than customers through experiential and referral marketing. What do consultants do? They ask questions to determine where you are so they can give you recommendations on how to get where you want to go.
A doctor asks about your symptoms so he can give a prescription. A prescription without a diagnosis is malpractice! It is no different for the sales consultant.
Focus on Benefits.
Be sure to focus on benefits rather than features. Features are what the
product or service is. Benefits are what the product or service does for them.
My good friend John Braun ran me through an exercise I never forgot, called
the “benefit of the benefit.” To drill down to the real benefit, you simply ask
that question after each benefit.
For example, right now you are reading this book. What’s the benefit of
this book? It will help you improve your business. The benefit of that? You’ll
make more money, have less stress, and more free time. And the benefit of
that? You will become a happier person! The benefit of this book is a better
life! Isn’t that funny? So use that simple but effective exercise.
Experience teaches us our prospect’s biggest objections. If you have not discovered those in your business yet, you need to. For example, when I was teaching in Australia, we presented a Zig Ziglar package that normally sells really well in the states. The problem was that I usually present the product with Tom Ziglar, who is Zig’s son and CEO of the company. Tom didn’t make the trip because Zig became critically ill the day before we were supposed to leave.
Tom asked if I was up to going alone, which I was honored to do. Unfortunately Zig’s health condition worsened, and he passed away while I was in Australia. Although I have sold many Ziglar products on my own, when Tom is in the seminar room, he brings a great deal of validation to the product.
I did well with the sales but not as good as we predicted based on the
number of people in attendance. The seminar sponsor quickly picked up on
that and asked those in the audience who didn’t buy what their reasons were
for not buying. He uncovered that some people weren’t as familiar with Zig
Ziglar as we are in the states. They felt perhaps the package was U.S.-based.
Objection: will it work for me here in Australia?
He uncovered that they felt the price was a little high, and the one that surprised me the most was they felt they didn’t have enough time to listen to all the CDs in the package.
Steve and I both knew this package had tremendous value to them and that it was priced at a ridiculously low investment compared to what they could get out of it.
So on the plane from Perth to Adelaide, we re-worked the sales presentation, and the next day we sold out in seconds. The only thing we did differently was to bring up the potential objections in the presentation and overcame them.
For example, to overcome the objection that the product was U.S.-based,
we pointed out that Zig Ziglar had a worldwide impact on an estimated 250
billion people. We pointed out people in Australia who had been impacted
by his work. On the price objection, we simply asked the audience what the
outcome of having a proven goals system would be for them. They agreed by having the system they would be able to make more money, have better relationships, less stress, more happiness, and live a more successful life. What kind of price can you put on that?
Speaking of price, we stressed the 100 percent money back guarantee
and even put a specific dollar amount on it. Why? Because we both knew if
they used the product, they would reach more of their goals and make more
money. There was no question about that. We just needed to present the
opportunity in a different way that day. Someone with less intelligence and
experience than Steve would have assumed the audiences were not interested
in the package, resulting in low sales.
Use Your 5 Point UEPTM
As you are going through the solution, connect the solution to your unique reputation, experience, education, systems, and guarantee. For example, if they say, “Last time we used a service company in your industry we got ripped of,” you can point back to your unique reputation and guarantee.
If you do bookkeeping and they tell you their sister-in-law is currently
handling the books and there is no issue with trust, but she doesn’t have a
clue what she’s doing, you point to your experience, education, and systems.
Avoid overloading prospects with too much information. Closing the sale
too quickly can result in returns. Instead, pause from time to time and ask
them if they agree with the solution. You might ask, “Does that sound like
what you are looking for?” It is extremely important to do this to make sure
you find the right ft. You will overcome many objections by doing this as prospects help you make adjustments. You get the right product or service for them based on their needs. You will also learn by doing this that there are things that should be in your presentation that are not.
Use their language.
To best connect with your prospects, avoid technical language unless you
translate it into a benefit that appeals to them. In fact, use their words. If you
are selling boats and the prospect calls one boat the “big guy” and the other
one the “little guy,” use those words. If you need to reposition the “little guy” or the “big guy,” you can do that by using the word and renaming it. Example. Let’s say you want the “little guy” to appear more valuable, you might say, “Did you know that the little guy has some huge benefits, such as…”
Use their pace.
One of the greatest things a salesperson can learn is the various communication styles humans have. Behavior assessment programs reveal that some of us are generally outgoing or reserved and people- or task-oriented.
One of the simple but effective assessments is called DISC.
D = Dominant. This style is outgoing and task-oriented, so they
are in a hurry to get things done.
I = Influential. Tis style is outgoing and people-oriented, so they
like to talk.
S = Steady. Tis style is reserved and people-oriented, so they
want to know that you care.
C = Competent. Tis style is reserved and task-oriented, so they
want complete accuracy.
The D style is fast-paced, get-to-the-bottom-line, so you want to speed up. The I style likes to chat it up, so have some fun and lighten up. The S is very loyal, so they want to know that you will be there to support them.
Reassure them that you will support the product when they need you. The prospects help you make adjustments. You get the right product or service for them based on their needs. You will also learn by doing this that there are things that should be in your presentation that are not.
C style will have lots of questions, so you want to slow down and give them lots of detail. Te D and I style will probably decide fast, whereas the S and
C will go slower.
It’s a good idea to find out what behavior style you use during the sales
process so you can be aware of how you are coming across. If you are an I and
you are selling to a C or vice versa, you’ve got to be aware! Otherwise, you’ll
blow the sale and not even know why.