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Three Power Words in Selling

Win / Loss analysis article

Analysis of thousands of sales process Win Loss Analysis interviews reveals three key themes that emerge time and again when sales prospects are asked post-decision about the key factors that drive winning sales efforts (and are weak or absent in losing sales efforts).  Below is an analysis of each key theme, summarized by a “power word” frequently mentioned by prospects, as well as actionable strategies and tactics for enhancing your sales performance.

Power Word #1: Rapport

Description: The winning salesperson effectively established chemistry with the prospect and found common ground / a personal connection. When asked to provide quantitative ratings on a number of sales-related metrics during Win / Loss analysis interviews, prospects rate the winning salesperson an average of 38% higher than the losing salesperson on “ability to build rapport”.

Winning Strategies / Tactics: Use open-ended “ice breaker” questions, such as the following ones, to improve your ability to build chemistry and to develop questioning strategies for enhanced rapport-building prior to a new sales situation:

–    How did you get into this particular business?
–    What part of the country are you originally from?
–    How’s business?
–    What are your personal or organizational goals?
–    What are the obstacles you are facing?
–    Perform an Internet / Google / LinkedIn search of all new prospects and use this information to find commonality.

Power Word #2: Consultative

Description:  The winning salesperson “did their homework”, asked the right questions, familiarized him / herself with the unique needs of the prospect and then proved they were listening by customizing their pitch to focus on those needs.  On average, prospects rate the winning salesperson 52% higher than the losing salesperson on “consultative approach” during Win / Loss analysis interviews.

Winning Strategies / Tactics: Use the following types of questions to help you better understand prospect needs by getting the prospect talking before making a full presentation:

–    What kinds of concerns do you personally have about your current service provider’s performance?

–    What’s working, what’s not?

–    What are the biggest concerns you personally are facing with your current products or providers? Why?

–    What would you change / improve about…?

–    Restate what the prospect has said about their unique needs before presenting your solution.

Power Word #3: Differentiation

Description: The winning salesperson stood out by clearly articulating how his / her company and product / service offering were different from the competition. Failure to differentiate is a frequent sales process critique among prospects who elect to remain with the incumbent.

Winning Strategies / Tactics: Below are some ways for you to show how you or your firm is different from the competition.

–    Before each sales meeting or presentation, develop and be able to clearly articulate 3-4 ways in which your company is different from the competition.

–    Ask the following questions to prompt a discussion on how you and your company are different:

–    Would you like me to explain how we’re different from the competition?

–    Do you see any reason why you would not want to utilize our company?

These three power words of selling are distinct yet related.  All else being equal, prospects want to do business with people they like; all else not being equal, prospects still want to do business with people they like.  When you improve your ability to build rapport, prospects will be more open to sharing their needs with you.  A better understanding of prospect needs will allow you to take a more consultative approach, giving you the opportunity to differentiate your offering in a crowded marketplace. By enhancing the way prospects view you in these three key areas, your chances of winning in new business situations increase dramatically.