Comfort Zone (Seller beware)
Comfort zones exist for all of us – including buyers and sellers. In a conversation with a buyer, do you think about “comfort zones” as a new way to find common ground? Let’s take a simplified example: Buyers have 2 zones, one is the internal zone, where they work to manage their business. This is their “comfort zone”.
The second is the vendor zone, where they talk to sellers such as yourself – they do not know much about your products, so they ask you many questions about your products (…too many Product questions, in my view, but we can get back to that later). This is their “novelty zone”.
Meanwhile, as a seller, you have two zones: Seller zone #1 is the Product zone – after all we are trained in our company’s products and services and all of their advantages, so it feels good to relate all that knowledge to a buyer. This is a seller comfort zone. Seller zone #2 is the customer’s internal zone – an area where we know little about what the customer spends his/her time on, and we are often a bit shy to ask. This is our novelty zone – outside our own comfort zone, but inside the Buyer comfort zone.
So, would it be valuable to move a Buyer conversation over to the buyer comfort zone? And then, how would we do that, if the buyer thinks I am just here to talk about my Products?
Buyers run a business, Sales people sell products.
But top sales people are always on a learning curve, so indulge your curiosity about how a customer runs their business. If they seem to want to talk only about your products, deflect the conversation with techniques such as:
- variety of Products – we have many products; let me better understand your business, then we will get into selection…
- success for You – we want a project that will be successful for you, and a credit to all who are involved, let me ask about …
- meeting business Purpose – your organization no doubt has particular goals this year, let me better understand those before we select a solution…
- timing and Time drivers – Buyers always welcome a question about timing, and this is your chance to discover urgency, not by asking if this is urgent, but by asking what key business event they have which absolutely needs the solution you have … and tell me more.
Once you get that conversation going, the best buyers will enjoy carrying on with more useful background information, since they are operating in their own “comfort zone” – as they discuss how they run their business. Buyers will perceive this as business acumen on your part, and then enjoy the way you can connect Product features and selection with specific business drivers they have revealed to you.