The 4 Steps to Solutions-based Selling
First, I want to thank all of you who attended my talk at the PPAI Expo. For those of you who missed it, I wanted to take this opportunity to fill you in. Now that you know the difference between options-based and solutions-based selling, and can see the benefits of solutions-based selling, I want to show you how to incorporate this information into your sales cycle.
The components of a solutions-based sales cycle are new client meeting, defining solutions, presenting solutions and follow up. Each component is necessary to the success of the campaign and builds on the work completed in the section before it.
1. New Client Meeting
There are many ways a client can enter your sales cycle--networking, referrals, etc. It doesn’t matter how they entered, but it is all about how well you create the experience. The only necessary materials in a New Client Meeting are a blank piece of paper, a pencil and an understanding of Socratic questioning, which we discussed in a previous section. Your job is to listen empathetically to your client's needs and help them to define objectives for their brand, event or campaign. At the end of this meeting you should be able to clearly define your client's brand, their target market and the specific objectives they are seeking to accomplish with your help. Once you have this information you are ready to move to the next step in the sales cycle.
2. Defining Solutions
With a clear understanding of your client’s brand, target market and objectives, you are now ready to reference catalogues and other sales resources. I like to work with my entire team in this stage as they all have unique and valuable insight on the solutions that best suit our clients' objectives. It is at this time in the process that we use the empowered methodology. When a product or event solution is suggested we take the time to make sure it accurately accomplishes each goal identified in the empowered methodology. We compile a presentation with the appropriate solutions, clearly highlighting how they accomplish the objectives of our clients. With our solutions in hand we arrange for a second meeting with our client.
3. Presenting Solutions
This is the most powerful piece of the Kaspo Experience. It is at this time that we will show our clients that we heard them, understood them and identified solutions tailored to their objectives. The presentation begins with a recap of their brand, target market and objectives. At this point our client knows we are on the same page as them and that we were truly listening to what they were saying. We then discuss the products that will accomplish their objectives and, specifically, how they will do that. Notice that we are more than halfway around our sales cycle and this is the first mention of product our client has heard. Talk about a drastically different experience. Lastly we talk about price. We save the price to the end not because we are hiding it, but because it becomes less important with the more value we provide. We have now transitioned from a cost to an investment in the mind of our client. The sale then happens in this stage of the sales cycle when the client chooses to implement one or all of our solutions.
4. Follow Up
Follow up, follow, up. The experience we seek to create is also ingrained in the systems and processes we implement throughout order processing. The client is kept in the loop throughout the processing of the order. They are reassured by their sales representative that their order was placed, that it will reach their in-hands date, that the artwork is correct, that it shipped out, and that was delivered. We are constantly checking in with our client and nurturing the relationship. Once the product is delivered, we follow up again. We confirm with our client that the product was delivered, and with the correct artwork. We also take this opportunity to ask how the experience went, about any future events, or if they know anyone who may benefit from a conversation with us.
After going through our experience, our clients see us as an ally. They know that we are on their side; we are here to make them look like the hero. Our clients now have the knowledge of how our process works and what makes us unique. By empowering their brand, and their customers, we have empowered our brand and turned a client into a believer in our brand.
For more in depth information on this topic you can download our ebook Empowering Brand Loyalty.