As a sales professional, you have an immense amount of knowledge about your offerings. You know what the benefits are, and you know how they can bring value to your customers. You know the costs, the savings, the typical project timeline, and so forth. It can be very tempting to jump right in and tell your prospects about the benefits of your project, how much money you could save them, and how long it will take them to recoup the cost of the project through energy savings. Don’t succumb to that temptation. Before you present any information to them – regardless of how compelling it is – find out about their goals, objectives, needs, biases, and scar tissue.
Suppose you are selling an LED lighting retrofit. You might be tempted to approach your prospect and say, “We can save you a lot of money on your utility bill. This LED retrofit will pay for itself in just 2.1 years, and after that, you’ll save more than half of the lighting portion of your electric bill.” Sounds compelling, right? Well it turns out that this particular prospect doesn’t care about utility bill savings at all.
Had you first asked a question like, “What do you most dislike about your current lighting system?” you might have learned that your prospect was interested in LED lighting because he was tired of having to change his current lamps all the time. You might have learned that he was concerned about overworking the air conditioning system because the current lighting system was making the room hot. You might have learned that his current lighting system did not align well with his goal of running an environmentally conscious business.
After collecting this valuable information, your pitch would not be focused on utility cost savings. In fact, you wouldn’t discuss savings at all. Instead, you would explain how your project could solve each one of the issues that your prospect mentioned.