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Recommending Solutions to Your Customer

Once you’ve had a chance to speak with your customer to discuss the various options that are available to them, you can start moving into the part of the sales cycle when you recommend solutions. Since the act of discussing options can take place over more than one meeting or phone call, this part may take place either during an existing meeting or at a later time. Many sales professionals prefer to have some time to reflect on what has been discussed in order to make an appropriate recommendation. This is a wise approach. 

Don’t feel pressured to make an immediate recommendation. Some customers may ask for a quick answer. Let them know that you need some time to mull over your discussions so that you can provide a recommendation that truly fits their needs. In some instances, it may very well make sense to make an immediate recommendation. Just focus on that which will make it easier to then move towards closing the sale.

Before making a recommendation, you first need to make sure that the customer is in the right frame of mind to move forward. Test the waters…

Sales Rep: “Were there any requirements you wanted to discuss in regards to the initiative?”

Customer: “No, I think that pretty much covers it.  We just want to make sure that the core requirements are met when making our decision.”

OK… the customer has given you the green light. They don’t have any more specific needs other than what you have discussed. Once you know it is “safe” to move forward, you can recommend the appropriate solution. 

Solutions need to answer those specific needs or concerns brought up by the customer in other phases of the sales cycle. They need to be applicable and stated as benefit statements so that clients don’t have to guess how or why they will benefit. Utilize the same FAB formula we have advocated throughout this class:

Feature: “Based on our discussions, I would like to recommend the ReliaTone presses to handle the printing needs of your in-house documentation center as it designed as an all-in-one machine.”

Advantage: “The ReliaTone is engineered to accommodate both small to large-scale electronic and hard copy print jobs in a compact, yet powerful machine.”

Benefit: “This will enable you to minimize the expense of purchasing multiple presses while increasing the productivity of those employees who only have to learn how to use machine.”

You can use additional FABs to back up your recommendation so that your customer truly understands the applicability of your solution.  As you go through this phase, your customer will let you know if you are on the track, if they have an objection or if they are ready to buy.

Another example might include:

Feature: “Given your requirements and the discussions we’ve had, I would like to recommend the eFlood online portal with a web-based interface that can be used by loan officers in all of your branches.”

Advantage: “The interface is designed as a quick and easy to use tool that can provide a response faster than any other system on the market.

Benefit: “This will improve loan officer productivity via access to flood zone data for the lower 48, Hawaii and Alaska. The faster you can provide approvals, the more business you’ll win.” 

Be sure to practice using FABs for this phase of the sales cycle as well as others. Doing so will empower you to show your customers how they will benefit from working with your company.

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