Last week I ran across some older research about the impact of experience on our b2b sales performance. While it covered positive elements, it also showed me some interesting points about how it negatively impacts a b2b sales person’s performance.
The negative element was directed at our ability to ask the right types of questions in our sales process. And, you know I’m a big proponent of the role the Questioning Model has upon our overall success.
As I referred the information, I realized I was somewhat guilty of this research activity! Geez! As I reflected on the topic, I realized it was a subject that I needed to share with all my Developing B2B Sales readers. So here we go…
When we are rookie b2b sales people and we learn the Questioning Model, we have a naive element in our experience level and follow the structure and paths of the questioning model without any bias in play.
It has been a know factor in all levels of selling – b2b or b2c – that performance dips after the first 18 months due to attempting to shorten the sales processes. Stop it! The sales processes are designed to take you from point A to point B with Point B being you get a favorable decision.
In the world of B2B Sales, this negative impact is clearly due to our gaining experience and more experience – to the point where we begin to see treads or “our standards” begin to form in our minds. Here is where we can hurt our sales productivity. What happens is you go in with a bias toward a specific solution because your experience tells you the answer with a little bit of information. This is the source of making mistakes and hurting your own success – due in part to your own arrogance.
While experience gives us a point of view or knowledge of how things normally work, if we begin to bring a bias towards telling the customer or prospect what to do rather than staying true to the questioning process – we will lose the customer. If we begin to do all the talking or telling the customer or prospect what to do then we have forgotten the true reason for asking the questions in the first place.
You ask questions so the customer or prospect is engaged in the sales process. It is also a known variable that “self discovery” is more valuable to our prospects and customers than anything we can tell them – even if it is the same information. Being the same information is immaterial if the customer is doing all the listening and none of the talking.
Reel your experience back and use it to help you understand what questions will be most beneficial for the customer or prospect to self discover the answers. You will still get the credit for helping them see the issues and their impact upon their business. Enjoy the sales process and guide your own experience level where it will help you and your customers.
One last point, even if something seems elementary to you as you gain experience, the same “something” could be rocket science to your customer or prospect. They could have a disbelief factor IF YOU ONLY TELL THEM ABOUT IT! However, leading them though a logical questioning model – they can get a self discovered AHA!