My job is selling technology. Actually I'm more of a translator. I sell technology to other businesses and that's where things get weird. There is a bewildering array of tech out there and unfortunately many companies think technology sells itself and the value that the technology delivers should be obvious. Wrong. That's where I come in. I said I was a translator. My job is to translate techno babble into value that customers understand. This blog share my adventures with high tech sales. Selling high tech is fun so come join me on my sales journey!

Sunday 10 February 2013

Romantic Sales #8 : Common Ground

February is the most romantic month of the year. In the lead-up to Valentine's day we are encouraging you to be romantic with your selling by sharing our Romantic Sales tips.  We'll cover the top 10 tips to spice up your sales in time for Valentine's day. Make February 14th the day you start Romancing Your Customers.

Tip # 8: Common Ground
In dating they often say opposites attract well in the world of business that is rarely the case. Big companies like to do business with other big companies. It is far more likely businesses do business with companies that have the same values and beliefs.

When you are selling you need to show what you have in common.  When people go out on a first date, a frequently used excuse  not to go on a second date  is "We had nothing in common" - there was no common ground.

Small businesses are viewed as risk by large companies so if you are selling something strategic you need to give the impression of low risk. You need to be viewed as credible.

The Internet has made it easy to research your prospects so it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a list of 3 or 4 values that you know your prospect has.  There might be some clues in the mission statement plastered on their website. OK most mission statements are so generic they could apply to any business but they sometimes have useful information in them.

You can then ask yourself what your offer does to create common ground.   This needs to be genuine common ground. Not something you make up to impress them as that is no better than lying on a first date about yourself - eventually you'll be found out as a fraud. Hardly a good way to built trust and rapport.

Make sure you target the right person otherwise you probably won't have anything in common. For example if you are selling paper-clips and you target the head of manufacturing at a car company, you are off the mark. OK this is a silly example but I have seen people target the wrong people and wonder why they get blown out.

By showing the common ground you can build trust. The chances are if you've done your homework on your prospect you will have lots in common to talk about. If you are from the same industry then LinkedIn will show you people you know that they know.  Dating friends of friends is a concept that has been around for a long time.

I sell specialist stuff so I target people that I know will understand what I am selling. By being on-target I already have common ground. I also try to anticipate what problems they might be experiencing and can agree with their problem - talk about the symptoms they have and build a common ground. I can then show them a solution when the time is right.

Find the common ground.

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