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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

SALES DEVELOPMENT: Listening Your Way Into a Sale

earLast week, I had the chance to speak at a leadership conference for roughly 150 executives from the home furnishings industry, including manufacturers, designers, import/export specialists, and retailers. We talked about the state of the economy, the mood of consumers, and the challenges that lie ahead.

After the session, one of the retailers approached me to explain that his lease was up on a huge warehouse space, and the renewal would represent a four-year commitment. He lamented, “I wish I could know what the economy would look like over the next 48 months.” We talked for a bit, and I reassured him that the city he was in was probably as strong as any local economy in the U.S. After sharing a few ideas, we parted ways.

Think of the poor salesperson who walks into this businessman’s office, focused only on the service or widget she or he has to sell. The seller will wonder why the meeting is postponed or delayed, or at least, why the business owner doesn’t seem to be giving their utmost attention to their presentation or faux needs analysis. Indeed, a product-focused pitch might leave the seller feeling like they’ve just walked into a buzz saw. 

Meanwhile, the business owner is thinking about things that will impact his profits for the long-term, like renting a warehouse to hold goods that might not sell in a down economy.

On the plane ride home, I thought of the myriad B2B sellers who could help this man balance his concerns. Software vendors, financial planners, inventory control specialists, advertising experts, trucking companies, bankers with cash management know-how, corporate lawyers with negotiating skills, furniture wholesalers who might be willing to share the burden of unsold goods and help with floor planning… and last but not least: Real estate brokers.

“I don’t know whether I should commit to a four-year lease for a warehouse.” With that one statement, this man was teeing-up the perfect opportunity for so many people to help define a problem, and collaborate on one of countless solutions.

Would you have heard it?

Mike Anderson is VP Consumer Insights and Communication at the Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales