How to Transform Your Selling Conversations

By Dr. Roy Whitten and Scott Roy

Are you bored with the same old grind of pitching, persuading, and convincing customers to buy what you’re selling?

Are you willing to sell differently – in a way you might actually want to do for the rest of your life and be truly proud of?

Rethinking the Old Sales Pitch
Most salespeople are regarded as pitchers, persuaders, and smooth talkers. To find out why, we ask salespeople this question: “When you talk to customers, what are you fundamentally trying to do?”

We have trained many salespeople in many countries – and their honest answer to this question is nearly always: “I’m trying to get them to buy what I’m selling.” It’s logical. It undoubtedly meets with management approval. It’s not wrong, but it just isn’t right enough.

Decision Intelligence: A Transformative Context
As it turns out, salespeople can let go of getting customers to buy, and instead focus on increasing their decision intelligence (DQ).

Intellectual intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) are well-known concepts. We coined the term “DQ” to refer to decision intelligence. We help our clients make expanding customer DQ the primary purpose of their selling activity – whether it’s a B2C transactional sale or a more complex B2B sale.

In DQ Sales® the seller is dedicated to helping the customer make the most intelligent decision – even if the customer discovers that the seller’s product or service is not what he or she needs.

In this process, the seller leads the buyer through a series of steps that deepen his or her understanding of the solution that will best solve the problem he or she is trying to solve.

Sometimes, achieving this understanding is straightforward and simple – in many transactional sales, this can be accomplished in one conversation. A complex sale, however, often requires multiple conversations.

Increasing Your Customer’s DQ
To develop a high DQ, customers need to understand four fundamental things, and in this order:

  1. The full extent and cause of the problems they hope to solve by buying something
  2. What it is costing them to leave these problems unsolved
  3. How your proposed solution will actually solve these problems
  4. The value this solution will bring them

In this way, the seller’s selling process is grounded in the customer’s buying process. When a customer fully understands the problem he or she is trying to solve – and fully understands the solution to this problem – he or she then has a DQ of 100 percent (and can make the best possible buying decision).

The Challenge Sellers Face
Our clients tell us that none of their customers possess 100 percent DQ at the start of a sales conversation. In fact, they are not even close. Sellers uniformly report the following:

  • Their well-informed customers understand about 70 percent of the problem and 50 percent of the solution.
  • Their less-informed customers are closer to 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

This means even their best-informed customers come to the first conversation with an overall DQ of only 35 percent. The rest of their customers have a lower DQ – even as little as two percent!

When customers have such a “DQ gap,” they may actually resist learning what they need to know. Instead, they invariably fixate on the two things they do understand: price and timing.

How to Get Started with DQ Selling
First, identify the specific steps your customers need to take to develop their DQ to the point where they will make a great buying decision. Here are the four steps they must follow.

  • Identify the problems they have to solve in order to get the results they seek
  • Estimate what it will cost them to leave these problems unsolved
  • Fully understand the solution you are offering to fix these problems
  • Estimate the additional value your solution will have for their business

Second, refuse to let customers skip steps or get distracted. Remember: You are doing this to help them build the DQ required to make the best decision for their business.

It requires effort and discipline, but those of us who use this approach – and we do use this methodology to sell our own services – find that customers trust us more, refer us willingly, and return for more.

Dr. Roy Whitten is an expert in attitude and its role in human performance – and has personally coached and trained more than 100,000 people. Scott Roy, an expert in the art of selling and sales management, has built and run large sales teams as well as founded a nationwide insurance company. Visit Whitten & Roy Partnership.