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Buyer Centric Sales Methodology

The Buyer Centric Methodology says that, "You don't know what you are selling till you know what the buyer is buying." This is what I teach and it is a powerful way of looking at the sales process.

Thoughts? - by Joeylean
Please tell me more. :cu - by Thomas
The Buyer Centric Model starts with, as Stephen Covey said, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." We want to understand the needs of the buyer and what he or she will buy and then craft our product presentation to answer that need. The focus here can appear subtle, but is really profound as we are seeking to understand our buyer so throughly that we do not present that which we like about our product (seller centric) but on what the buyer needs (buyer centric). It is a conscious shift of focus that guides the sales professional in truly selling effectively.

If you ask any sales force to write down what they are selling you will get a variety of answers, some will state features of the product, other benefits, but with a buyer centric methodology you are not selling until you know what the buyer is buying... - by Joeylean
How long does it typically take to gain this information from the client?

How do you apply the principle to a one call close situation where you only have 2-3 hours for the whole presentation? - by tbeezy
Great question, though I am now in a B2B sale, I have worked in one call close environments. I find one call closes to be the most challenging and rewarding type of sale. I had to ask the prospect for between 10k - 20k within 2 hrs so I understand where you are coming from.

In the one call close you must do a good Discovery. This is where you spend 15 - 20 minutes asking the client questions that will accomplish the following:
  1. Find the Dominant Buying Motive: What 3rd level emotional need will be met by buying your product
  2. Find the Problem: Why is your product of more value than the price you are asking? What problem are you meeting that they currently have?
  3. Find Future Objections: A good Discovery will allow you to find out about the objections that will be brought out later. This gives you time to answer the objections before they are even raised later.
  4. Self Discovery for the Prospect: Many times our prospects really do not know what they need and it is in the discovery that they will reveal to both you and themselves why their needs
To be successful at any sale, but especially the one call close you must master the Discovery, as it is the blueprint that the prospect gives you to follow to the sale. There is a lot more that can be said here, but if you can master those for parts of the Discovery that will set you up for success. - by Joeylean
Joey, I strongly agree with everything you said except one thing.

In a one call close environment, although the target may be to spend 15-20 minutes on needs assessment, I would recommend that better guidance is to do it "as long as is necessary." If you don't have a good understanding of needs, there's no point in going forward with a presentation and close, so it's much better to get the full picture of needs before going forward, in my opinion.

In a one-call close sales environment, sometimes that means turning it into a two-appointment process.

In general, salespeople have a lesser understanding of prospect needs than is required to become a top sales performer, imo.

Skip - by Skip Anderson
I agree with you, I only meant to say that it usually lasts 15- 20 minutes, but I appreciate you bringing that point to light, as it is an important one. I completely agree that until the goals of the Discovery are accomplished that you should not move on. I believe that this is where most sales people make mistakes and it is often the most overlooked part of the sales presentation. But I have also found that if one goes into the Discovery seeking to accomplish the goals and understands the strageties to accomplish that than the sales professional can effectively "sell." - by Joeylean
Sounds like we're on the same page, Joeylean! Great! I appreciate the wisdom of your posts. - by Skip Anderson
The Buyer Centric Model starts with, as Stephen Covey said, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." We want to understand the needs of the buyer and what he or she will buy and then craft our product presentation to answer that need. The focus here can appear subtle, but is really profound as we are seeking to understand our buyer so throughly that we do not present that which we like about our product (seller centric) but on what the buyer needs (buyer centric). It is a conscious shift of focus that guides the sales professional in truly selling effectively.

If you ask any sales force to write down what they are selling you will get a variety of answers, some will state features of the product, other benefits, but with a buyer centric methodology you are not selling until you know what the buyer is buying...
How thorough will you or can you really understand most prospects? There is so much that goes into people's decisions that you might not even know what to ask about? - by Thomas
Thanks Thomas, you raise an interesting point. I agree that it is not easy, but this is the call of the professional sales person. Knowing how to listen is what sets apart one sales person from another. Many think of a good sales person as a "fast talker" but today's marketplace a good sales person has evolved into a great listner. When one can master this, that individual will have the ablity to do one of the greatest things in the world: influence others. - by Joeylean
The way I see it, it doesn't matter how well you listen if the prospect isn't participating in an open honest discussion. Even then it takes skill, and perhaps some luck, to help a prospect identify, clarify and verbalize their true wants and needs. - by Marcus
The way I see it, it doesn't matter how well you listen if the prospect isn't participating in an open honest discussion. Even then it takes skill, and perhaps some luck, to help a prospect identify, clarify and verbalize their true wants and needs.

Marcus, I agree that if the prospect is not participating in the dialogue then it is pointless. You are also very correct that is does take skill to make this happen. But there are some principles and strageties that can aid the sales professional in accomplishing this.

One of the keys is to find out what your prospect's Dominant Buying Motive is. When you find this out and speak to it then you are a talking about what they are interested in and they will listen. Finding this out is can be challenging, but that is why we get paid the big bucks :)

The best way that I know of doing this is to begin asking questions, start with 1st level questions and then progress to 2nd and 3rd level questions. These questions will bring out their DBM. If you are having trouble getting the prospect to answer questions, I would ask them for permission to ask questions and frame the request so that they understand the benefit to them of you asking questions. For example: "John, if it is ok with you I would like to ask you a few questions just so I can better understand what you need so that we can see if and how we could assist to?" If they say "no" then you have an objection you need to overcome, and better to hear it upfront then at the end of the presenation. Yet, I have found the most often when you ask their permission you will get a "yes". - by Joeylean
I agree. It's the most important thing to know while selling. Know your customer and listen to what your client needs. Once you know exactly what they need, you can do your job better, make them happier, and gain more business.

It all works out! - by ginac84
This is an excellent thread.

Quote: "How thorough will you or can you really understand most prospects? There is so much that goes into people's decisions that you might not even know what to ask about?"

One effective tactic is the Ideal Product approach. Ask the prospect to describe his ideal product. He will then detail the things that are most important to him, his interest triggers. Only the prospect can tell you what features, benefits, needs, wants, etc. are most emotionally important to him. And once revealed, you can then focus on meeting those requirements. The prospect will ALWAYS tell you how to sell him, if you but ask.

Hope this helps.

The Sales Artist - by The Sales Artist
The prospect will ALWAYS tell you how to sell him, if you but ask.
Sales people could start asking prospects, "How do I sell you?" but the responses would leave a lot to be desired.

Since that question won't work most of the time then which question or questions would? That's question that I think sales people really want to know the answer to, "What should I be asking?".

Answers like, "ask open and closed questions" or "drill down" don't do me much good not only because those aren't actual questions I could ask but this assumes that the prospect will answer the question or even have an answer to the question. - by Thomas
"What should I be asking?"
For example, if you ask the prospect to describe his ideal product, he'll identify those features and benefits HE finds most important (his interest triggers).

"Hey John, tell me what your ideal product would be. In a perfect world where you can have any feature you wanted, what would the perfect product be like?"

You can then focus on those benefits and explain in detail how your product fulfills his interest triggers.

As was previously stated, many salespeople are keen to explain the features the salesperson likes, but that may mean nothing to the prospect. What you must determine is what features or qualities are most important to HIM and then fulfill those benefits. He will tell you want is important and those are the things that will sell him.

Plan ahead. Have prepared questions that get the prospect to reveal his interest triggers. You should have those questions in your arsenal before you ever engage the prospect. Know what you are going to say, where you are in the process, where you're going and how to get there. Preparation is 90% of the job.

Hope this helps. - by The Sales Artist
For example, if you ask the prospect to describe his ideal product, he'll identify those features and benefits HE finds most important (his interest triggers). You can then focus on those benefits and explain in detail how your product fulfills his interest triggers.
I sell used mobile homes. Asking the customer what he wants is mandatory or I wouldn't have a clue what to show. In the past when I asked a customer to describe for me his ideal home only a few people could do it.

Plan ahead. Have prepared questions that get the prospect to reveal his interest triggers. You should have those questions in your arsenal before you ever engage the prospect. Know what you are going to say, where you are in the process, where you're going and how to get there. Preparation is 90% of the job.
This circles back to the question I think many sales people are asking which is, "what should I be asking?" You can tell me all day that I need to be asking questions to do this or that but if I don't know how to phrase the question then I haven't made any progress. - by Thomas
The Buyer Centric Methodology says that, "You don't know what you are selling till you know what the buyer is buying." This is what I teach and it is a powerful way of looking at the sales process.

Thoughts?
I was not familiar with the methodology's name, but I just came on the thread, saw the above, and immediately my mind went to Coveys "Seek first to understand and then to be understood."

Scrolled down and what do ya know!

I like this thread and the methodology works. The challenge, and the advanced skill (or trait) is being able to know the prospect as well as knowing his needs. They are not the same thing, but at a specific level of selling, they are equally important. - by Ace Coldiron
I sell used mobile homes. Asking the customer what he wants is mandatory or I wouldn't have a clue what to show. In the past when I asked a customer to describe for me his ideal home only a few people could do it.
I believe that's often the case. You can't always expect buyers to know in advance, before they have seen their options, what they want. So my idea is that you describe first what your most popular products are respectively what your best costumers buy mostly and then asking them which of the cited features and benefits are most important to them. First sow, then reap.

Seeing that you are wondering how to phrase your questions, I'd like to know what sales books you have read. There are some with a lot of good examples for needs analysis. - by Alexander
Sales people could start asking prospects, "How do I sell you?" but the responses would leave a lot to be desired.

Since that question won't work most of the time then which question or questions would? That's question that I think sales people really want to know the answer to, "What should I be asking?".

Answers like, "ask open and closed questions" or "drill down" don't do me much good not only because those aren't actual questions I could ask but this assumes that the prospect will answer the question or even have an answer to the question.
Thomas, you're an important and sincere contributor here. From reading your post on this subject, I'll ask you to consider whether you are confusing The Art of Selling with The Science of Selling.

Selling is an art based on the use of scientific tools and principles. "How do I sell you?" represents a principle. Practicing the art consists of asking questions that will draw out the answer:
  • "What have I missed?"
  • Does that make sense?
  • Am I being thorough?
  • "What haven't I covered?"
  • "Does that answer help?"
  • "What are you thinking?"
  • What are you trying to accomplish today?"
  • Am I covering what you need to know?"
  • Does that work for you?"
Those are conversational. That is how it's done. "How do I sell you?" provides a basis of understanding of part of the sales process--a "principle". YOU need to make the conversation. SalesArtist can hand you a brush. YOU need to paint the picture.

I sincerely hope that helps. - by Ace Coldiron
Selling is an art based on the use of scientific tools and principles. "How do I sell you?" represents a principle. Practicing the art consists of asking questions that will draw out the answer:
  • "What have I missed?"
  • Does that make sense?
  • Am I being thorough?
  • "What haven't I covered?"
  • "Does that answer help?"
  • "What are you thinking?"
  • What are you trying to accomplish today?"
  • Am I covering what you need to know?"
  • Does that work for you?"
Those are conversational. That is how it's done. "How do I sell you?" provides a basis of understanding of part of the sales process--a "principle". YOU need to make the conversation. SalesArtist can hand you a brush. YOU need to paint the picture.

I sincerely hope that helps.
I definitely helps. Thanks so much for taking the time to post it.

sjb - by sjbrown0324
To date, no one has ever been able to describe the exact moment of the sale. Try it.

You can describe the discussions that lead into the sale, your possible demonstration and the close but not the moment the client decided to buy. Seasoned sales people know that moment but it is nothing that can be accurately described.

How many times has the sale been made while discussing sports, television programs, favorite vacation spots, children, hobbies and many other inconsequential subjects? That is not generally taught in sales training seminars.

Decisions are made from feelings and emotions. In fact, according to the philosopher David Hume, logic and reason are slaves of our passions. And that has never changed.

The sale resides in the dead silence of emotions and feelings behind our speaking and listening. This is why Thomas and many others ask similar questions. In fact, many seasoned sales people who have mastered listening begin to choose not to listen to certain words and focus on others.

Successful sales people have mastered the intuitive domain of communication which is why the sale can occur anywhere in the spoken opening, middle or close. The reason is this intuitive domain is separate from both verbal and non-verbal language.

The answer is in listening but listening to the feelings transmitted and riding upon and beneath the spoken word. As listening skills become polished this channel will open. - by John Voris
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