Selling involves the exchange of information, which then leads to an exchange of a product or service.
There are many components to a sale, including the sales conversation, which should be about discovering a customers needs and goals. This is achieved through using effective questioning, listening and clarifying, amongst other things.
When the focus of a sales conversation is about “closing a sale” and getting closer to a sales target, the customer experience is impacted before it’s even begun. The focus becomes selling anything and moving on to the next person. From a customer perspective, this would feel rushed and impersonal. Not what you’d want a customer to feel if you expect them to be loyal and an advocate for your own business/brand.
However when the approach is to learn about personal or business goals, the interaction is meaningful and the relationship has the potential to be long term. There are instances and in industries when a transcational sale is appropriate, where a customer wants X and you have X to offer. All other times need to be about understanding your customer, regardless if it is a business or individual buying a product or service for personal use.
A business to business sales conversation still requires a foundation of trust and rapport prior to discussing needs and goals, without it the conversation will be general. A first contact close, should not be expected in any sales conversation, particularly business to business.
Discovering needs in a business is linked to understanding the goals in a business.
The sales approach to a business to consumer conversation should be the same as a business to business conversation. The noticeable difference will be in an individuals needs and goals, which will be specific to the product or service that is being sold.
A consumer will make a purchase to fulfill a need and or achieve something. It’s the role of a sales person to discover what it is.
A solution based on needs must link to a goal, otherwise what is the point of selling?