With such a focus on numbers, figures and quantitative data in the current climate it is easy to forget the insight that can be gathered from qualitative data and how this can be vital in a process.
Qualitative data is not as easy to track and analyse but holds great importance if gathered then utilised correctly. In this article I will briefly cover the opportunities you have to gather vital feedback and how it can be utilised during a sales process.
Power of Negative Feedback
As with overlooking one data type for the other, negative feedback can be seen as the ugly duckling when compared to much more warmly-received positive feedback.
However, negative feedback is just as powerful, if not more powerful, than its positive counterpart. You may need to probe more to get in-depth negative feedback as you will often be confronted by a cold ‘no’ by asking follow up questions you could garner some important data to help you in future sales processes..
Such questions as ‘where did I miss the mark?’ OR ‘why do you feel this solution isn’t for you?’ both of these can reveal exactly what the other party are looking for in a suitable candidate or solution. On the solution sales side it may even reveal a larger business problem that a different offering would help solve, when one door closes another one opens!
How to Gather Feedback During the Conversation
It’s a good process to gather feedback throughout the sales process, it is the importance of being prepared to make notes at all times (always take a pen and pad everywhere, for everything!). The storing, sorting and future applications of these comments made during the process can possess high value.
It could be something as simple as noting what questions are being asked as these maybe repeated with a different client so will aid you in your preparation. However anything noted on a pad is in danger of being lost so make sure to type up and file these somewhere secure for future use.
Or, it could range to the more complicated of having a set line of questioning that enables you to collect an extravagant amount of detail regarding your interviewers preferences or the business you are approaching and their problems/processes they perform that could be used in future to emphasise the solution you are positioning.
Again, file these answers as you may not need them immediately but they could lead to hitting the jackpot in the medium or long term.
Using Feedback to Your Advantage
All data, whether it is quantitative or qualitative, is collected for a reason and should be utilised. Feedback can be used to close opportunities or to better your position with a client.
As mentioned in a previous article about interviews, (Remember your ABCs) you can gather comments and feedback as you progress through an interview to better your understanding of the opportunity then to close against these new facts you have discovered. The same can be applied to closing a sales deal.
When positioning a solution; a length needs analysis will provide all the feedback/data you should require to sell your offering against what the businesses current issues are and how urgently these need to be remedied. Quick calculations as to how much revenue this could be costing the business using the previous feedback would GREATLY help the cause, calculators at the ready ladies and gentleman.
Challenge the Feedback
Never be afraid to challenge the feedback. As learnt in the challenger sale methodology you can teach, tailor and take control of the situation by using the tips from this methodology. The word “challenge” should not be mistaken for an aggressive action but rather done to gain further insight.
This will involve discovering why the client has come to the conclusion they have reached, educating them on the value you or the solution you are selling demonstrates, tailoring the reasons why you stand out or your product stands out against the conclusion the client reached themselves and then taking control of the whole situation by using all the information gathered and points made by the other party to reflect your value or the solution you are selling value specific to them and their situation.
In summary, feedback can be provided at any time and in any form, this needs to be noted in a location that can be filed then accessed when it reflects a time of value.
Do not be scared to probe for more information after a piece of negative feedback or a rejection this could be key in turning that no into a yes and securing a deal that feels better than most. A feeling comparable to scoring against a football team you used to play for.
If someone is not seeing the value leaving it there could be criminal, challenge the opinion of the point of contact if they are not buying currently this may lead to them coming back to you in future as it is a step down the path to the trusted advisor garden of Eden.
To summarise the whole article feedback is important! Note it! Store it! Reference it! Use it! And reap the rewards.