7 moments that matter to your customer

The days of the ‘rainmaker’ are over. Sales isn’t about pitching and closing. It’s about connecting with your customer. One of the great SaaS sales specialists shows us how to do it.

In June we staged our first Sales Confidence conference at HereEast, in London’s Olympic Park. We called it SaaSGrowth2018. We had over 200 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 30 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our SaaSGrowth2018 articles.

Jacco vanderKooij

It was a thrill to welcome Jacco vanderKooij onto the SaaSGrowth stage. After a phenomenally successful sales career, Jacco founded Winning By Design. Jacco and his team go into startups and established organisations and revolutionise their sales processes through training and strategy. Jacco is an extraordinarily charismatic and emotive speaker, and I’m sure I speak for everyone who saw him at SaaSGrowth when I say his talk was a real highlight.

Jacco’s talk was titled ‘Sales as a Science’. Part of his talk concerned how selling isn’t about pitching and negotiating anymore. It’s about connecting with your customer, being on the same side rather than adversaries.

‘At the end of the year when you think about how your year was, unless something truly terrible happened, you don’t think about bad or average days, you only think of the awesome days. You only think of the moments that matter. So does your customer. Here are 7 key moments that truly matter to your customer.’

1 — Reach out for the right reasons

‘You need to reach out to your customers, not because they’re the right fit, but because they have a pain.’

Most salespeople call up a company because they think they will be a fit for what they’re selling. But let’s be honest, no buyer really wants to take another meeting and hear another sales pitch. There has to be something more. Do your research to uncover your customer’s pain, which you can then tailor your message to help solve.

‘I roleplayed something with recently with a [lead management software] company. We said, ‘I noticed at your recent tradeshow that you’re still doing your leads manually, you have 4 events coming up, and one of them is going to be the biggest event you’ve ever had.’

2 — Conversation, not qualification

‘The problem with qualification is there’s nothing in it for the customer. There’s great value in it for the seller, sure, but nothing for the buyer.’

We know that salespeople need to qualify their prospects so they don’t waste their time with people who will never buy. Don’t be too blatant about it, however. Don’t bombard them with specific questions about numbers and budgets. Start a conversation instead.

3 — Discover. Don’t pitch.

‘Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice!’

Rather than look for a way to sell your product, look for a way to solve your customer’s problem.

‘Buyers today can smell when you’re selling from a mile away. Learn about their business with the intent, not to sell, but to solve their problem. Make a recommendation for what is right for them. Do that, and what is right for you will come to you.’

4 — Trade. Don’t negotiate.

‘Discounting in SaaS service doesn’t exist.’

If you are adjusting the price, you must trade.

‘If I’m able to help you with the price, would you be able to introduce me to 2 other people that can benefit from our solution?’

‘Those are hot SQLs that are going to come in. Immediate value.’

5 — Orchestrate, not kick-off

Once you have done the deal, your relationship with your customer has changed. Suddenly, you both drop your acts and you’re in this together.

‘It’s you and me now. You’re not successful? I’m not successful!’

Rather than move straight through to onboarding, come to terms with your new open relationship and make sure the implementation process suits your customer.

6 — Usage bad. Impact good.

‘We think it’s about usage, but that’s just for you. It doesn’t mean anything to the customer. Customers want impact, not usage.’

7 — Grow together

‘We talk about upsell, cross-sell? Essentially it’s about growing together. How are you and your customer going to grow together?’

Final thoughts

Jacco concluded his list with this call to arms.

‘Negotiating, closing, pitching, qualifying. Those words are no longer valid in today’s world of selling. Customers reject it, and when they recognise it in your behaviour, they’re done with it.’

Strong words, and ones we should all take on board.

Over to you now. What do you think of Jacco’s 7 tips? What do you do to create moments of connection with your customer? Leave us a comment to let us know.

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