We’re all consumers, and we all know what it’s like to walk into a store where the salespeople are paid by commission. From that very first moment we see the sales associate walk towards us, our guard goes up. No matter how helpful and pleasant they are, there’s an almost instinctual reaction we have as shoppers. We say something like “Just looking!” and hope that’s enough to keep them at bay.
Why is this? It’s pretty simple, actually. As shoppers, the last thing we want is to be pressured into buying something. This is the exact same instinct that your prospects feel when they agree to hear your sales presentation. Even if they know they need the product or service you provide, they don’t want to go through the ordeal of a high-pressure sales presentation. They put up the same sort of “Just looking!” defenses.
This is exactly why the alignment-based approach is so powerful. It changes the very nature of the interaction, removing the tension and apprehension completely. Here are five core benefits you will experience while using an alignment-based sales method.
1. It clearly states your intentions: When you meet with a prospect and take the time to explain the alignment-based process, it allows them to gain a deeper understanding of your goals. It turns the poker-faced, win/lose dynamic of a traditional sales interaction completely on its head. Instead of creating a competition, it plants the seed for a partnership.
2. It demystifies the sales process: Even in a well-established sales process, it can be tricky to know what the next step is. Is it time to talk about pricing, or are there still lingering concerns about features or support that need to be addressed first? An alignment-based approach allows you to completely address these issues as you go, checking into make sure both parties are having their needs met. This makes the progression from one stage to another much less confusing, and much more objective.
3. It builds trust: The more the prospect understands about your process, the easier it is for them to let their guard down. If they know going in that this deal will only happen if it’s a good fit for both parties, and that they have just as much power to walk away as you do, it helps to establish a new kind of rapport.
4. It’s easier to disqualify prospects: The traditional sales perspective is that a prospect should never be given an easy out. The idea is that they need to backed into a corner, with the only reasonable escape being to buy your product. In an alignment-based approach, you want to make it easy for a prospect to opt out during the sales process, because a bad fit is a waste of both parties’ time. If they can disqualify themselves, they’ve saved you the time and hassle of trying to make a bad deal happen.
5. It’s a huge differentiator: Using an alignment-based sales approach completely changes how prospects view the sales experience. Their whole demeanor changes, and you can see the change in their body language and relief in their faces as they realize they aren’t going to be on the receiving end of yet another hard sell. At the same time, this often results in them being much more receptive to the sales process.
Is alignment-based sales always the most effective approach? No, sometimes it isn’t. If you’re in a business where your only goal is to move a lot of product, even if that means burning through customers in the process, alignment is probably too slow. If you don’t care how those customers feel about your company, and the odds are that they will never buy from you again or renew their contact, focusing on high-pressure sales might make more sense.
But if you’re in a business built on creating long-term value, relying on traditional high-pressure sales doesn’t make very much sense. If you want your business to both be profitable and sustainable, and to create wealth while building high-value relationships with customers, alignment is the best approach.