Part Three: What’s really motivating your prospect?
In Part One of The Power of The Word ‘What’, readers learned that ProActive Sellers qualify prospects using questions that start with the word ‘what’, instead of ‘who’. In Part Two, we dove into what date is really important to buyers, and readers learned it’s not the day the buyer signs the contract.
In The ProActive Selling MMM Qualification process, a sales person keys into three defined decision areas (Money, Method, Motivation) by asking a set of seven questions. The third M, Motivation, goes deep into the buyer’s mind and helps a seller determine if the solution they provide will really satisfy their need. In this article, we will look at benefits from the prospect’s position as well as the 3 Levels of Why.
What does the prospect believe are the top two benefits with your solution?
This a great question to dive into specifics. Not the top two benefits of the category your solution fits into. Not the two benefits of your competitor. What are the top two benefits your specific product or service offers to that prospect? The prospect sharing this with you in their own words is powerful, because it stops us from making assumptions that could be wrong. If you’ve heard the old adage, assuming an answer makes an ass out of you, and an ass out of me. As a sales person, you definitely don’t want to make an ass of yourself, but more importantly, you don’t want to let your sale be contingent on a assumption that might be false.
The conundrum with this question is that sellers are placing trust in their prospects. How will they know that the answer the prospect gives is the real reason? Can you really know for sure if a prospect is telling the truth? Is the seller sure they are interpreting a prospect’s answer to mean what they are thinking it to mean?
Don’t let the grey cloud of uncertainty beginning to form dampen your enthusiasm.
M3 Learning’s 3 Levels of Why Tool lays out a technique you can master to reveal the real reason a buyer is making a decision. Here’s a great example. Our old friend Jim from part one in this series just bought a new pair of shoes. Nice shoes. Leather wingtips. Let’s look at what a conversation with Jim looks like using the 3 Levels of Why Tool:
First Level of Why
“Jim, those are sure nice shoes you’re wearing. Why did you buy them?”
“Oh, I liked the color. Brown leather matches a lot of my suits.”
Second Level of Why
“There are so many brown leather shoes! Why this pair specifically?”
“I think the shape is pretty good. They are comfortable.”
Third Level of Why
“I’m sure there are hundreds of brown leather shoes that are comfortable. What made these shoes different from all the others?”
“Listen, I’ll tell you why. I just got a promotion. I’ve busted my butt for the last year learning how to be a ProActive Seller, and it’s paid off in spades. I’ve always wanted this brand of shoe because a guy I looked up to wore them and he was really successful. I bought these shoes because I earned it, and I’m proud.”
Wow! Check out the difference when you ask questions that go a little deeper. It’s not about shoes, is it? It’s about what’s really motivating a buyer to make a decision. The answer is often emotionally based and something that a seller isn’t privy to without using the 3 Levels of Why Tool.
Knowing and understanding the real reason for a buyer’s decision helps you influence their behavior. For example, let’s say you happened to work at an auto dealership, and a potential buyer has come in looking for a specific model. Using an empathetic ear and asking the right questions should reveal the real reason they want that particular model. You can use this information to steer them towards a solution you have that fits their needs.
“Why are you looking for a Toyota Prius?”
“Because I want an eco-friendly car.”
“There are lots of eco-friendly automotive options these days. Why are you thinking about a Prius specifically?”
“I really like the way they look.”
“The eco-friendly car market has exploded lately. There are many different shapes and styles to choose from. Why else are you considering a Prius?”
“Well, my family has always owned Toyotas, since the 1980’s. I can’t imagine not buying a Toyota.”
So there you have it. There is a deep emotional connection to brand and the other criteria were layered in on top of that reason. You’ll know when you’ve hit that Third Level of Why because their passion will bubble to the surface. They may even be a little embarrassed at the answer because even they know that it might not be a rational reason for making that buying decision. Even so, it’s real and they will make a decision based on it. Getting to the root cause gives you the information you need to address it.
“Oh man, I totally understand that. My Dad is a Chevrolet man. He used to say, ‘Chris do you know what FORD means? It means Found On Road Dead. Haha!’ I couldn’t imagine driving anything but a Chevy. Then a buddy of mine took me out in his F-150, and it fit all my needs and was priced right. It took me awhile to get over the stigma of what my Dad said about Ford vehicles, but I did, and now I have a truck I really love.
We have some eco-friendly cars here that come in a variety of styles and colors. I think we may find one that will be a great fit for you and your family. Would you like me to show you around?”
You can learn more about the Three Levels of Why Tool, as well as the MMM Qualification process with all 7 questions in Skip Miller’s ProActive Selling, Second Edition book.