Sam Levenson said, “Happiness is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.” I find that to be true. When I try to be happy, I’m not. But when I focus on the things that make me happy and don’t think about whether I’m happy, it turns out I am happy. I have never been able to force myself to feel happy. I have to actually do the things that make me happy: Getting wholly engaged in my work. Helping someone in need. Giving someone a sincere compliment. Losing myself playing a competitive game of tennis. Writing. Spending unhurried time with my spouse and children. Creating. Truly listening. Exploring nature, other cultures, or history. Getting lost reading a novel. Praying. And the list goes on.
There is a parallel phenomenon at the root of buyer enablement. I would modify Levenson’s quote to “Getting a deal done is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.” In other words, the more you focus on getting the deal done, the harder it becomes. However, the more you focus on meeting the needs of the buyer, the easier it gets.
Buyers Want to Learn Rather than Be Sold To
What is the difference between feeling you are being sold to and feel- ing you are making an educated purchase decision? There are both stance and process differences.
Buyers almost always engage because they have a problem they want to solve. They need to learn how to solve it. Theoretically you have not only the solutions but also the knowledge of how to solve their problem. The buyer can often tell within minutes of the first engagement what type of salesperson they have on the other line: Is it someone who is trying to sell to them or someone who is trying to educate them?
Sometimes we think our job is to persuade the customer. Instead, focus on educating the customer, and you’ll have greater success. As buyers learn, they will feel motivated to take action.
Buyers want to learn how to solve their problems. This involves asking questions to understand what they know and what they don’t and then teaching them about how to solve the problem in general and how your product can potentially help. Sell less, educate more, and you’ll close more deals.
Fulfill Customer Wants
If you look carefully at the list of wants in this blog, you may notice a common thread: All of them relate to the Emotional ROI that was covered here. If you work on filling these wants, your buyers will have an easier time overcoming their emotional reluctance to making a decision, so the logic of why your solution is the best choice for them can win the day.
When logic and emotion come together, prospects will almost always agree to a deal with you (assuming you have a viable solution). However, that doesn’t mean rolling over or giving discounts. It simply means that you need to anticipate what they want and plan it into your sales processes ahead of time so that you can anticipate their needs and give it to them before they’re even asking. By giving them what they want, you’ll get what you want: a profitable deal done quickly.
For the full manual on buyer enablement, check out the book Selling is Hard. Buying is Harder by Garin Hess.