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Chapter 21

Sales Dialogue:
Creating and
Communicating Value
After completing this chapter, you should be able to:
L01 Describe the key characteristics of effective sales
dialogue.
L02
Explain how salespeople can generate feedback from
buyers.
L03
Discuss how salespeople use confirmed benefits to create
customer value.
L04 Describe how verbal support can be used to
communicate value in an interesting and understandable
manner.
L05 Discuss how sales aids can engage and involve
buyers.
L06 Explain how salespeople can support product claims.
L07 Discuss the special considerations involve in sales
dialogue with groups.

L01 Effective Sales Dialogue

Preparing and completing this phase of the sales process


successfully has been compared to doing surgery in that it is
complex and requires preparation, knowledge, and skill.
They work with the prospective buyer to identify, diagnose, and
clarify unsatisfied needs or problems and then show the buyer
how much better the situation would be by purchasing the
proposed product or service.
Professional selling classes often require students to role play a
sales dialogue, have sales contests within their institution, or
have students competing against other colleges events.
Planning and practice should focus on an organized sales
dialogue and not a canned sales presentation.
Proper planning and practice provide an important foundation for
effective sales dialogue.

Keys to Effective Sales Dialogue


The most effective sales dialogues:
- Are planned and practiced by salespeople.
- Encourage buyer feedback.
- Focus on creating value for the buyer.
- Present value in an interesting and understandable way.
- Engage and involve the buyer.
- Support customer value through objective claims.

L02 Encouraging Buyer Feedback

In a productive sales dialogue, the salesperson continually assesses


and evaluates the reactions and responses of prospective buyers.

The SPIN or ADAPT questioning processes are designed to get the


buyer to provide feedback to specific questions the salesperson asks.

The observant salesperson can receive a great deal of continual


feedback in the form of the buyers nonverbal cues.

In addition to observing nonverbal cues, high-performing salespeople


incorporate verbal probes at key points in order to evaluate the buyers
interest and assess the progress of the sales dialogue.

The phrases check-backs or response checks have become


common names for this form of questioningseeking feedback from the
buyer.
Check-backs or response checks
Questions salespeople use throughout a sales dialogue to
generate feedback from the buyer.

Check-backs are commonly employed at two key points:

After a specific feature-benefit sequence in order to confirm the benefit


and better assess the prospective buyers level of interest

Following the response to an objection in order to evaluate the level to


which the salesperson has handled the problem.

The effective use of check-backs offers a number of advantages, the


most evident is increased buyer interaction.

The effective use of response-checks also helps the salesperson


evaluate the level of the buyers understanding and keeps the
salesperson on the right track.

L03 Creating Customer Value

After the introductory part of a sales call, the salesperson must try to
determine what the buyer considers to be of value.

A salesperson can use the SPIN or ADAPT questioning strategies to


understand the buyers situation and to identify needs, problems, or
opportunities important to the buyer.

The salesperson's primary goal is to uncover the prospect's specific


needs or problems and then focus on what products or services will
solve the problem or meet the specific needs.

Confirmed benefits
The benefits the buyer indicates are important and represent
value.

A major purpose of the use of the SPIN or ADAPT questioning process I


to help the salesperson identify the confirmed benefits for the buyer.

The importance of focusing on confirmed benefits to create value for


buyers is illustrated in Professional Selling in the 21st Century: Using
confirmed Benefits.

L04 Interesting and Understanding Sales Dialogue

Once confirmed benefits have been identified, the salesperson


needs to present key selling points in a manner that is interesting
and understandable to the buyer.
Verbal support
The use of voice characteristics, examples and anecdotes, and
comparisons and analogies to make sales dialogue interesting
and understandable.
Voice Characteristics
The pitch and speed of speech, which salespeople should vary to
emphasize key points.
Examples and Anecdotes
Example
A brief description of a specific instance used to illustrate features
and benefits of a product.
Anecdote
A type of example that is provided in the form of a story describing
a specific incident or occurrence.
Comparisons and Analogies
Comparison
A statement that points out and illustrates the similarities between
two points.
Analogies
A special and useful form of comparison that explains one thing in
terms of another.
L05 Engaging and Involving the Buyer

Simply informing the prospect about the benefits and their value to the
buyer is seldom sufficient to generate the level of interest and desire
required to result in a purchase decision.
Sales aids
The use of printed materials, electronic materials and product
demonstrations to engage and involve buyers.
A salesperson should use the sales aids that will engage and involve
each buyer most effectively in a particular sales dialogue.

Reasons for Using Sales Aids

Capture prospective buyers attention.

Generate interest in the recommended solution.

Make presentations more persuasive.

Increase the buyers participation and involvement.

Provide the opportunity for collaboration and two-way communication.

Add clarity and enhance the prospects understanding.

Provide supportive evidence and proof to enhance believability.

Augment the prospects retention of information.

Enhance the professional image of the salesperson and selling


organization.

Types of Sales Aids

Visual Material
Printed materials, photographs and illustrations, and charts and graphs
used as sales aids.

Electronic Materials
Sales aids in electronic format such as slides, videos, or multimedia
presentation.

Product Demonstration
The product itself is often the most effective sales tool because it
provides the prospective buyer with an opportunity for hands-on
experience.

Using Sales Aid in the Presentation

Practice! Practice! Practice! Rehearsal of the presentation is the final


key to conducting effective sales dialogue.

Using the SPES Sequence can facilitate the effectiveness of


presentation tools and sales aids:
S = State selling point and introduce the sales aid
P = Present the sales aid
E = Explain the sales aid
S = Summarize

L06 Supporting Product Claims

As discussed earlier in this chapter, confirmed benefits answer the


buyers question, What is in it for me? In a similar fashion, proof
providers can be utilized to preempt the buyer from asking, Can you
prove it? or Who says so?
Proof providers
The use of statistics, testimonials, or case histories to support
product claims.

Proof Providers

Statistics
Facts that lend believability to product claims and are used as proof
providers.

Testimonials
Proof providers that are in the form of statements from satisfied users
of the selling organizations products and services.

Case Histories
A testimonials in story or anecdotal form used as a proof provider.

L07 Group Sales Dialogue

Sales dialogue with group is fairly commonplace in business-tobusiness selling.


Interacting with groups presents special challenges and
opportunities.

When selling to groups, salespeople can expect tough questions


and should prepare accordingly.
Most buying groups are assembled to tap the individual expertise
and interests of the group members.
When selling to a group, salespeople should take every
opportunity of preselling to individual group members prior to
the group presentation.
Preselling
Salespeople present their product/service to individual
buyers before a major sales dialogue with a group of
buyers.
Buying procedures in a given company may or may not allow
preselling.
Preselling can also reveal the roles of the individuals in the
buying center.

Two key areas of preselling


-

Tragically suggestions for group presentations


Handling questions in group settings

Sales Tactics for Selling to a Group

Assuming that the salesperson or sales team has planned a


comprehensive sales dialogue and done as much preselling as
possible, there are some specific sales tactics that can enhance
presentations to groups.
Three general categories of sales tactics for group presentations
- Arrival Tactics
- Eye Contact
- Communication Tips

Handling Questions in Group Settings

Just as is the case with sales dialogue to individuals, questions from


buyers in a group are an important part of the buyer-seller interaction
that leads to a purchase decision.

Salespeople should recognize that questions fill information gaps, thus


allowing buyers to make better decisions.

In a group setting, questions can also add a dramatic element, making


the presentation more interesting for those in attendance.

To handle questions that arise during the meeting effectively,


salespeople should listen carefully and maintain eye contact with the
person asking the question.

By listening carefully to the question, salespeople should show proper


respect to the person asking the question. At the same time, they are
helping direct the attention of the group to the question.

In many cases, it is a good idea to repeat or even restate the question.

When restating questions, salespeople must be careful to capture the


essence of the buyers concern accurately.

When answering questions, there are three guidelines.

1. Salespeople should not attempt to answer a question until he or she


and the group members clearly understand the question.
2. Salespeople should not attempt to answer questions that they are not
prepared to answer.
3. Try to answer questions as directly as possible.

When answering questions, it is important to address the entire group


rather than just the individual who asked the question.
In larger groups, it is particularly important to avoid getting locked into
a question-and-answer dialogue with one person if other people are
showing an interest in asking questions.
When selling to a group, salespeople should have a clear objective for
their presentation.
In some cases, the group will wish to deliberate and let the salesperson
know of their decision at a later time.
The process for planning and delivering a group sales dialogue is much
the same as it is for sales dialogue with individuals.