To do this successfully the seller should come from a point of ignorance, not knowledge.

Keep it customer focused until he sells himself your lozenge having felt his pain.

For instance, having surveyed the photos on the walls, showing the varied countries the Chief Engineer has worked in, this insurance agent points and breaks the ice with, “I see your job has taken you places. Where was this?“ “Oh, this is Malaysia. I was on secondment there for two years. And this was right after a stint in Australia where I was in charge of Health and Safety.” Following some bit more banter and appreciating how exposed this prospect is, the agent says, “You already know why I’m here, so I will not insult your intelligence by telling you about insurance. Instead, tell me what you have and I’ll tell you what I have and we see if we can strike a compromise.”

The engineer stifles a smile as his face lights up at the feeling of ‘he respects me’. He then explains the insurance covers he has for each of his family members. And then the agent drops the bombshell: “Do you feel it is adequate?” Taken a decade ago and his social stature and insurance needs having grown, he knows it’s not. Quickly recovering from the revelation he asks, “What do you recommend?”

Customer orientation

The agent kept it customer, until the customer sold himself the agent’s lozenge having felt his own pain. To do so, the seller had to show concern for the buyer which he did through research and adapting his presentation accordingly. To do this successfully the seller should come from a point of ignorance, not knowledge. Meaning, ‘I don’t know and when I do, I’ll see if at all my lozenge is best for your sore throat.’ And if it is not, accepting this but still proposing the lozenge that does soothe the pain-even if it is the competitor’s.

Buck starts and stops with seller

Solving the buyer’s problem is the seller’s responsibility. In addition the seller had to ask choice questions (without appearing interrogative) that will help the buyer see his situation afresh. Remember, buying insurance (or whatever other ‘lozenge’ he has) and monitoring its adequacy, is not his primary job; he has more pressing issues at hand. What the seller does is guide the buyer to focus on his situation and interrogate it afresh to the point where he sees for himself the need to change. And because the first reaction to change is resistance, the progressive seller wants to make that change as frictionless as possible, and getting the buyer to see it for himself is it.

The example shared is for a business to customer sale. In the business to business sale the principle applies only it calls for deeper research, more extensive market intelligence and business oriented questions.  Irrespective though, the questions that reveal insight span a structure- from how it is now, to if and how it can be better? Try this and let me know

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