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What To Know As A Non-sales Salesperson

If you're an attorney, advertising professional, architect, accountant, financial adviser, or engineer, you're also a salesperson. Not what you were expecting? It's true. If you fall into one of these positions, you likely have to sell regularly to be successful. So here is what a non-sales salesperson should know.

Selling has become a critical skill over the years. But, with people being bombarded with hundreds of marketing emails, messages, and calls daily, it's hard for someone to break through all of that clutter. Here are some things you can do.

Who is Your Ideal Client

In any business, you must know who your ideal client is—failing to understand who your ideal client is can cause things to be misinterpreted. According to AutoKlose  “At least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell."

Rather than chasing every shiny new opportunity that comes your way, take some time to analyze the people or companies with whom you currently conduct business. Look at their size, industry, location, business model, and culture. Then, ask them what attracted them to work with you. This can quickly provide a good overview of who your ideal client may be.

Knowing your ideal client allows you to build your entire business, message, products, services, support, and sales to attract and serve this narrowly defined group.

Identify the Problem

After you've identified who your ideal client is, it's time to identify the unique problems or challenges they are facing. The more you talk to the customer about what unique problems they might be facing, the better the conversation will go.

Although many of your prospects are experiencing similar challenges, the root cause of these problems will often be as diverse as your customer mix. According to Salesforce, "63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations, while 76% of B2B buyers expect the same thing."

One way to identify your prospects' challenges is by asking intentional questions.

Ask Questions to Get to Know Your Prospect

Getting to know your prospect and identifying their challenges all starts with your discovery calls. Good discovery happens when a salesperson uncovers the customer’s needs. Great discovery occurs when salespeople introduce conditions that the potential customer might not have thought about and ties those needs to a business impact.

The best questions will come from listening, and asking pertinent questions that help reveal opportunities specific for that prospect, such as:

  • Tell me more about that?
  • Why is that important to you?
  • What happens if nothing changes?
  • Is your current solution working?

The prospect might not know they have a problem or opportunity, let alone what it looks like. They may not know how urgent or important it is and how they should address it. Asking these questions allows you both to discover if this prospect is a good fit, and if your solution will work for them.

Craft a Solution

The prospect’s problem is not just about your product's features, but about crafting a solution to your future customer’s problem. It is about opening their eyes to something new and giving them more exposure to things they may not have considered.

Selling when considering the prospect's needs, problems and concerns is one of the best ways a salesperson or non-sales salesperson can sell with empathy.  A survey from  SalesForce found that 70% of buyers agree that sales winners craft compelling solutions.

In some cases, selling a product for the sake of selling a product can be fairly surface level and is often why non-sales salespeople are turned off from selling.

Problem Solving Over Sales

Instead of selling and being called a salesperson, think of this as an opportunity to help solve a potential customer's problem. Non-sales salespeople need to identify and solve problems, define and communicate value and build trusted, long-term relationships with customers just as much as a salesperson.

In the End

Skilled non-sales salespeople solve problems by listening and empathizing. Instead of looking for opportunities to pitch their product or service, they look for opportunities to understand their customer's challenges. In the rare case, the best non-sales salespeople walk away or recommend another solution if they're not able to help.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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