Sell Backwards

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There are many tools in sales that can help salespeople to be more effective.  One of my favourites is both a tool and a concept. The concept is one of the most successful, because it helps the customer to sell themselves - by taking them on the journey, where they get to understand and convince themselves of the best next steps for their business as they tackle their current challenge/situation or problem.

A great way to get your head around the concept, before reading the rest of the article, is to watch Simon Sinek’s famed TedTalk on Start With Why. Simon's talk demonstrates how people emotively think and reason as they come to terms with new concepts and ideas. Change is one of the hardest things for people to do and many people will avoid change as much as they can, for as long as they can - unless they are part of the change process. In this case they will often champion the change.

The concept of selling backwards is counter intuitive for many salespeople. Salespeople like to talk about what their product is, how it works, and why it could be good for the customer. The reason we do this (of course) is because our comfort area is firmly rooted in our product knowledge and so we approach interactions with clients from the space where we feel most comfortable. The reality is that a client is not looking for our comfort.  The client is looking for somebody who has confidence and understands what the customer really wants. Therefore great sales reps start here.

When selling backwards, the key is to seek to understand first, what it is that the customer really needs and wants. By asking questions that uncover what it is that the client is trying to achieve and what they stand to benefit by tackling the problem and making changes, we help the customers to buy into what a better future could look like.  Additionally, great questions help us to uncover the pain points, and what impact those pain points are having on their business. 

By helping a customer to see the true cost of not making a change, and then moving them through questions into understanding the benefits that a positive change can bring, the customer then raises the key question, which is, well, how can I do that? And what do you have that could help me achieve that? This is now the appropriate time to start to talk about your products and services because the customer is ready to hear about them. 

Give this a try and see how it works for you. We look forward to hearing about your success!