Five reasons “Why” becomes “Y”

Identifying and acting on the right selling actions that get customers to buy from us, is hard work. However, why customers buy from us, versus our competition, is actually a simple set of reasons. When we base our sales plans on the reasons customers buy versus the way we want to sell, we put ourselves on a journey where the customer is our guide. We want this. The five reasons “Why” becomes “Y” are as follows:

VISABILITY – Customers want us to be visible not only to them but to others they trust. The right visibility, even in today’s digital world, comes from personal connection within the customer’s circle of influencers, both with us directly and through referential connections. Digital/social presence is absolutely required to maximize our visibility but the right visibility is not complete without personal connection.

CREDABILITY – Having the right knowledge about the customer, the industry and our offering is the combination that customers look for to determine that we are credible sellers. The right knowledge does not have to mean we are experts and, in fact, declaring ourselves experts on the customer’s business and industry can result in immediate loss of credibility. We can never know the customer’s business as well as them. The right level of knowledge allows us to understand customer needs and to connect them with the right people or resources that address those needs.

VIABILITY – Determining that our offering is viable is a critical thing to learn early in the sales process. Learning we don’t have a viable solution late in the process means we’ve consumed the customer’s time, and our own, on something that might not be possible. The best way to determine viability is with the customer using traditional benefits analysis and proposals. It is best to do these things in what I call a “same-side-of-table (SSOT)” discussion where we get real-time input from the customer on how to build the right proposal.

CAPABILITY – We need to give the customer confidence that we can deliver on our proposal. We do this through demonstrations, trial usage of our offerings and references. If we have the benefit of many satisfied customers, references are often the most effective way to show our capabilities. If we are proposing a new offering or are in a start-up mode, demonstrations and trial offerings can be the most effective means to show our capabilities.

RELIABILITY – How we conduct the selling process demonstrates our reliability better than any testimonials or presentations. If we are prompt and open before getting the business, customers will accept this as our normal mode of operation. If we are slow and calculating during the sales process, customers will see this as our normal mode. Selling is a 24/7 process and customers will test us to ensure themselves that we are a reliable supplier.

Selling is hard work but it is made simpler if we base our plans on the reasons customers buy. Getting on the journey with the customer as our guide is where we need to be.

©2013 Rick Wong – The Five Abilities™ LLC


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