Being Transparent Matters: Selling in the Information Age

Selling “black boxes” is now a thing of the past.  In the B2B space, prospective buyers have immediate and easy access to massive amounts of information about whatever is being sold to them.  If that’s the case, then it doesn’t make much sense to withhold pertinent information about what’s being sold!  Taking the “mystery” out of a sales proposition has become absolutely critical for success.

Here are some keys to accomplishing that crucial objective:

Refine your value proposition to one sentence.  This is your “elevator pitch.”  This exercise will force a seller to establish a clear description of what’s for sale.  This “statement of purpose” gives the recipient a basic idea of the opportunity and should prompt him/her to take the conversation to the next level.  Eliminate any potentially confusing points and make it as logical and straightforward as possible!

Acknowledge that your prospect has access to plenty of information and data about what you’re selling at their disposal.  This gesture signals that you respect the prospect’s professionalism and that you are an “open” person as opposed to a “closed” one.  There is power in being transparent.  Suggesting that there are unseen pieces or hidden motives merely invites suspicion from a prospective buyer and jeopardizes credibility.  No matter how compelling your product/service may be, the buyer is still “buying” into the seller first!

Provide objective and verifiable information about every claim that you make. Almost any statement that a salesperson makes about his her product/service can be quickly verified (or at least reviewed) by one or more third party sources.  Google or Wikipedia anyone? Given that relatively new “fact of life”, why would any salesperson take the risk of making unsubstantiated or “fictitious” claims?  To the contrary, the salesperson should offer third party verification of any claims that they make.  And always distinguish facts from opinions!

Walk your prospect through every step or component of your respective service or product.  B2B buyers will typically demand to see a “clear path” before getting serious about making a deal.  Rather than wait for that demand, a savvy seller will be proactive and take the buyer through a step-by-step explanation of what they are trying to sell.  Sellers often assume that the buyer can figure out some of the steps for themselves—a risky thing to do!  Leading a prospect through the process in a clear and concise fashion gets closer to a sale and screams “Integrity”!

Check for clarity with your prospect on a routine and periodic basis.  Much like an effective trial lawyer working with a jury, an effective salesperson will simply ask the buyer if he/she is clear on what’s being discussed.  It also displays respect and care for the buyer and his/her task.  100% mutual clarity also paves the way to a win/win deal where both the buyer and seller feel very comfortable with the final outcome.  Getting too far down the road and then finding out that the buyer has a misunderstanding of a critical point can kill a potential deal immediately!

Being a transparent seller may take a little more effort, but the payoff is significant.  To choose to be less than completely open is very risky in this new age of instant and abundant information.  So be clear and be successful!