As a salesperson, you have more than likely heard the term “buyer first selling.” It might seem to be one of those buzzword-type phrases, but it’s actually an important methodology.
Of course you want to put buyers first, and often you think you’re practicing it regularly. In reality, a lot of buyers don’t feel as though their needs are put ahead of everything else.
A recent report found that only 23% of buyers believe that sellers “always” put them first. That number is already low, but unfortunately there’s a bigger problem. The same report found that nearly two-thirds of sellers (65%) truly believe they are “always” putting buyers first.
The disconnect between sellers and buyers is quite staggering, which is why there’s never been a more important time for salespeople to rethink the practice of buyer first selling.
Buyer First Selling: What Is It?
In simple terms, buyer first selling is all about reshaping sales transactions to be focused on buyer-driven activities. This is to say that a salesperson must tailor each step of the process to match up with what the buyer needs— not what the seller wants the buyer to need.
Easy enough, right? Not exactly.
Sales is exciting and competitive by nature. You want to close deals, you want to succeed. But it’s vital to remove yourself from the process enough to put the customer first, always.
This type of empathetic selling likely does come naturally to you. It’s just a matter of being mindful regarding a few basic principles.
1. Learn & listen
The secret ingredient to a successful, empathetic salesperson is curiosity. Be curious about a buyer’s company and its needs. Research websites and social media to see what employees are sharing to get ideas of potential pain points and growth indicators ahead of any call or meeting with the buyer.
Going into conversations with your potential buyer armed with a little bit of knowledge will make it easier for you to absorb information to ask pointed questions. This ensures that your first meeting will be all about gathering information and not about pushing your product as their solution.
2. Be transparent
So much has changed in the sales landscape. It used to be that sellers were the only ones with access to certain information, but now buyers are doing a lot of their own homework.
In terms of establishing relationships between sellers and buyers, most of the important information should be readily available and not kept secret until speaking with a seller.
Things like pricing, pointing buyers to customer reviews, etc should all be transparent from the get-go. You, as a seller, should have nothing to hide. Buyer first selling is entirely about helping someone make a decision that’s best for them and one that they feel confident making.
3. You’re solving, not selling
Yes, you believe in your product and you’re eager to close a deal. But remember: it is not about what you want someone to buy. It has to be in their best interest, and you have to acknowledge that.
Understanding that you are not selling, but rather solving a problem faced by another human removes the transactional mindset from the encounter and brings in much-needed empathy.
Trust is Earned
Buyer first selling is all about establishing trust, and trust is something that must be earned. For salespeople, that trust is earned by consistently acting in the buyer’s best interest.
When you start to prioritize the needs of the buyer over your sales numbers, you begin to form relationships. Those relationships are so much more likely to last when they are coming from a place of genuine best interest through the practice of putting the buyer’s needs first.