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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Patience and Intelligence

While having a buyer share a goal is a highly positive event, it also can be the catalyst that causes traditional salespeople to misbehave. Picture a traditional salesperson, for example, making a call on a finance executive. The executive says, "Our forecasting accuracy has been awful, and this is an area in which I'd like us to improve." What response will most traditional salespeople make in this situation?

If a traditional salesperson's process does not have patience built into it, he or she most likely will attempt to project his or her vision of a solution onto the buyer, rather than developing a vision that the buyer owns. Many launch right into something to the effect of, "Here's what you need to improve forecasting accuracy!" Then begins the intense "spray and pray" of features, many of which the executive doesn't understand, isn't interested in, and may not even need. Mix in some ownership for the vendor or seller achieving the buyer's goal, and you have a potential lost opportunity.

Sharing a seller's opinion or trying to impose that opinion on a buyer won't work in most cases. Instead, once a goal is shared, the traditional salesperson needs two qualities in order to take a Customer-Focused next step:

These two components, integrated in the Solution Formulator (SF), provide a template enabling sellers to deliver Sales-Primed Communications. These templates help traditional sellers become Customer-Focused by leading the buyer to a vision of a solution that the buyer owns.

Let's say a CFO expresses a desire to improve forecasting accuracy. The Customer-Focused way for sellers to exhibit patience and frame the conversation is to ask, "How do you forecast today?" This allows the buyer to discuss his or her current approach, which in turn allows the following positive things to happen:

While few would disagree that these are all great outcomes, it is sobering to realize that the vast majority of salespeople (90 percent?) will be unable to achieve them without Sales-Primed Communications, which ultimately positions a company's offerings. Once the components of a conversation (vertical industry/title/goal) have been established, salespeople can benefit by executing Solution Formulators. Sales organizations can also benefit because the output of these calls becomes more objective and less dependent on the salesperson's biased opinion.

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