I'm relatively new at my company. We offer a wide variety of high technology products and services. Our main markets are healthcare and government.
I have been through our product training classes and I have a simple question for you. Often we have a suite of products that we can offer a client. How do I know which one to lead with? One of the marketing managers who taught our training course said we should lead with the full-featured, most expensive product and sell all of the advanced features. However, I have also received advice that I should lead with the lowest cost offering and then sell them on why they should spend more.
I'm frustrated. What should I do?
There is another option. Why not lead with ALL the products? Simply provide a quote and product information on all five of your offerings and let the customer pick.
You have asked a great question. It is one which really helps to highlight the advanced, high level of strategic and consultative selling that I share with attendees in my workshops.
The best way to help you to understand my approach to sales is to share a short story with you.
Bob is a sharp student who is accepted to Medical School at the University of Wisconsin. After 10 years of medical school, residency, internship and fellowship programs, Dr. Bob is hired to work at a major teaching medical center. On his first day of work and before seeing his first patient he asks his boss, Dr, Bonefixer, the Medical Director of The Orthopedics Department, a thoughtful question: "Dr. Bonefixer, I have enjoyed a great education over the past 10 years. I know all about anatomy, pathology, drugs, and diseases. I am a master at a wide variety of surgical techniques and approaches. But exactly which one should I lead with when I see my first patient?"
Shaking his head in disbelief, Dr. Bonefixer tried to exercise restraint in his reply. "Dr. Bob, despite all of your education you have lost sight of the most important thing-- your patients' needs. You can't help anyone unless you know exactly what they need." And don't forget that prescription before diagnosis is malpractice!
Dr. Bob felt he knew the answer, but his boss smiled and confirmed: "It depends upon what the patient needs."
Marie, I will share with you that I have a brother in-law who also is an orthopedic surgeon. Dan has enjoyed a very successful practice of his own for decades. While vacationing with recently he was kind enough to examine my bum knee. What Dan demonstrated intuitively was a perfect consultative approach. Dan listened carefully and unhurriedly, he asked specific questions about my symptoms and concerns, and genuinely indicated his care for my welfare. Only then did he physically examine me. He advised against surgery at this point and instead offered helpful therapeutic solutions tailored to my fitness regimen. Naturally we are relatives and I have always trusted him implicitly, but it was great to experience first-hand the value of trust earned by a purely consultative approach and treatment.
So now do you have the answer to your question, Marie? What product will you lead with? You will lead with NO product! You will lead with your highly consultative approach to begin to uncover exactly what problems, challenges and or opportunities exist with your client. This will be executed in the form of an informal or formal diagnostic/audit session. After that is accomplished you will then determine IF you have a solution that will assist your client. You are an unpaid consultant. You will become a trusted advisor.
You probably noted that I highlighted "if" above. Why? Because a true superstar knows that she may not have a solution that meet the short and long-term needs of the customer and is very comfortable sharing this fact.
If, after the diagnostic audit, you do have a helpful solution, you will then make a formal proposal to the client. This will be called a "Recommendations" document. The first version of this should be labeled "Draft" in case your coach in the account feels that changes should be made.
Good Luck and Close 'Em!