Sellers know that the sale experience is an important factor in a prospect’s purchase decision. But they may not realize how big of an impact it can have.
Writing for Chief Executive, Scott K. Edinger shares the results of a study by Garnter. “Among existing customers, the buyer’s experience during the sales process accounted for 53% of the purchasing decision,” he reports.
More than brand, delivery and product, the sale experience impacted these B2B buyers’ decisions.
Another benefit of a positive pre-sale experience is that it gives prospects an idea of what they could expect as a customer. “Successful pre-sales experience sets appropriate expectations, and helps prepare the customer for working with your company,” explains Jim Tincher, writing for MyCustomer. “Focusing on this journey can also help improve the experience of existing customers.” As he explains, an excellent sale experience sets them up for loyalty and satisfaction.
Sellers Often Focus on the Sale Experience Post-Deal
Customer experience is a big buzzword in the sales world. But Edinger points out that sellers typically only focus on the post-sale experience. Despite its influence on buyers, reps don’t usually focus on the pre-sale process for their prospects.
“The sales experience is the first mile of the CX [customer experience] highway,” he explains. “If it’s a bad experience, customers get off at exit 1, and there is no CX, no revenues at all.”
Neglecting the sale experience from the very beginning misses out on a major opportunity. Sellers can create a valuable experience from the first touchpoint which they can build on throughout the entire process. This will highly increase their chances of closing.
Uncover Hidden Pain Points
One way to immediately improve the experience for the buyer is to show them what they can’t see. “The best sales organizations I’ve worked with do an extraordinary job of focusing on finding problems the customer didn’t know they had and then helping the customer solve them,” he writes. “They have a sales process that is based on a mutual diagnosis.”
To do this successfully, buyers must first be knowledgeable about the prospect, their business and the industry. This information should be gathered before the first call. For tips on how to conduct successful pre-call research, download the free e‑book “The 7 C’s of Pre-Call Intelligence.” This guidance will ensure that you’re prepared and educated by the time you and the prospect connect.
Once you do, use that knowledge to uncover deeper insights into their business. Open-ended questions will help you work with the prospect to spotlight pain points they may not have considered.
As Yesware’s Jenny Keohane points out, “The key is to ask open-ended qualitative questions that require an in-depth explanation, giving you a broader view of the problem. This allows you to grasp as much information as possible.” Listen actively to make sure you get the needed information as well, as Keohane points out, “your role is to carefully listen and pinpoint the issues that your solution specifically can solve.”
Offer Other Resources
Another key to a positive sale experience is directing prospects to other valuable resources. That resource may be another vendor who can help with additional issues or simply an industry blog or whitepaper about a relevant topic. By offering a variety of solutions, not just your own, you’re demonstrating that you want to help.
Doing this, Edinger explains, “will have helped the customer, and that will help you build loyalty and customer trust, which usually leads to more business.”
Buyers want to work with sellers who truly care about their business and not just making a sale. SalesFuel research even found that nearly half of buyers say that “caring about me and my business” is a top attribute they seek in a salesperson.
Offering them multiple types of support, in addition to your own solution, demonstrates you care. It also delivers even more value to buyers.
Differentiate yourself by focusing as much on the pre-sale experience as you do on what follows a deal. You’ll immediately provide relevant value and show the buyer they are important to you from the very beginning.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko