Selling – the principle of the inverted pyramid
This blog article is a short summary of this chapter with some important techniques and facts Dirk Kreuter is presenting.
Speech is silver, silence is golden
First of all: We need to ask our customer about his time budget to avoid the situation talking 20 minutes about our product until the customer says “Oh, my sorry; another appointment is coming up.”
Talking to a customer is always a dialogue. Asking questions and sharing only essential information is the task of the sales person. Similar to a visit to a doctor we don´t want to get a prescription right away – we want to get checked and asked about our symptoms. We want the doctor to listen to us.
Customers sometimes don´t know what they want
Some customers tell you they exactly know what they want but sometimes it makes sense to recheck their needs. What is the reason for this purchase? What is the need? Is this already the ideal solution? We need to recheck the customer´s needs to maybe find a better solution which can lead to a greater customer satisfaction and of course to a greater sale.
The inverted pyramid of selling
Dirk Kreuter says that the basis – the biggest part of the pyramid – has to be the preparation, followed by the customer relationship management and the top is objection handling.
There are 5 steps of selling:
Step 1: Preparation
Research, studying and being uptodate. We need to know our market and our customer´s situations. We can ask questions to ourselves in advance:
- Do I have used every source of information to get informed about my customer?
- Do I know my products in detail? What questions can be asked? What objections can come up?
- Who takes part at our meeting? Deciders?
- What is my minimum and my optimal goal?
Step 2: The meeting, negotiation – the customer relationship
As a sales person we are always watched. The meeting starts when we turn into the customer´s street. Kreuter gives a 101 of business etiquette:
- Arriving: The car has always to be clean and tidy
- Entering: Be kind and leave a business card at the receptionist
- Choosing your seat: Even if the receptionist offers you a seat – always wait until your meeting partners enter and let them choose their seat first.
- Getting drinks offered: Always take something to drink – even if it´s just water. This is kind.
- Business cards: Everyone at the table gets a business card before the meeting starts. Don´t put your received cards away immediately – put them on the table in front of you (and you won´t forget any names within the meeting).
- How was the traffic?: Wether you got stuck in a traffic jam or couldn´t find the way – your way to your customer was always good. Never moan about traffic or something else. People buy from winners and winners never moan.
- Compliment!: Start the meeting with compliments … about the kind receptionist, the entrance hall, the office.
Step 3: Customer demands
After our preparation and research we´ll have a great overview about our customer. But now we need to get details information talking face to face.
How is the demand? What product or service our customer is using right now? What are my arguments to use our service or product instead?
Top sales persons always ask neutral questions “What experiences have you made with your product?” instead of using a positive wording like “How satisfied are you with your product?”. Because no customer likes to admit that he has made a bad decision in the past and is using a product which is not satisfying him.
As important as asking about the demand we need to ask about the priorities and main focusses of our customer. Some value the price, some the quality and some the delivering date. Once we know the focus we can adjust our offer.
Step 4: Presentation
Regarding to the focus of our customer we adjust our offer or presentation to his priorities. Presenting 2 solutions regarding to his focus is way more effective than presenting all 10 of our solutions.
The presentation is the core of our sale.
Step 5: The close
Now it´s finally time to close our deal!
This was a short book excerpt about an essential part of selling. In his book, Dirk Kreuter explains in detail why it actually makes sense to see the biggest part of the pyramid in prepration and not in objection handling. With great preparation and customer relationship management, objection handling systematically diminishes.
I´m going to write one or two more articles about selling techniques by Dirk Kreuter within the next weeks. His techniques are well presented, practical and always illustrated by his own stories and experiences.