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The 5 Whys in Sales Development

August 8, 2017 Madison Fowler

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Here's the thing... Sales development is already tough, but nowadays everyone is so busy, we have to change our approach. In days past reps had to reach out to unsuspecting (a.k.a. cold) prospects and get them to stop what they are doing and listen. That’s easier said than done, and a far less effective approach in an age where prospects are demanding more. 

Salespeople are shifting from the hard-seller stereotype to a more trusted advisor, according to Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO and Founder. 

By changing our approach we meet prospects where they are, by giving them reason and value to listen. Trish Bertuzzi, sales expert and author of "The Sales Development Playbook,” developed a list of questions that she recommends all salespeople explore to help drive their prospects down the sales pipeline. By asking ourselves these questions throughout each stage of the sales journey we align our perspective with our prospects'. This is paramount as we are the first impression and brand liasons, and set the stage for the future relationship with target prospects. 

The 5 whys all salespeople need to explore: 

  1. Why you should listen.
  2. Why you should care.
  3. Why you should change.
  4. Why you.
  5. Why now.

The breakdown:

When asking yourself the 5 whys, you are connecting with your prospects pain points and priorities. By understanding their needs, values, and insights you can answer each 'why' and to take them all the way to a closed sale. By giving them insights they cannot find on their own, you bring value to them and give them a reason to listen to you. It is important to put yourself in your prospects shoes and make your intention nurturing and meaningful. 

Bertuzzi created the following guide to show the salespersons the process and how to achieve the successful outcome of triggering interest and winning the sale.  

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Each question follows the natural progression of sales, it flows with how we make decisions in the proper order. If you can answer why they should listen to you and make them curious about your offering, they have gone from being too busy to engaged. From there tell them why they should care about what you are offering them, how it benefits them, and how it answers their specific needs. The final three why questions get them to commit, why they should change to your offering, why they should trust and buy from you, and why now is the best time to do it.  

Because if you increase the lead conversion rate, but aren't closing more business, what's the point? (Bertuzzi)

Embrace that “doing” sales development is much less about copying and pasting bits and pieces from other companies and much more about choosing the right goals, plans, and actions for your ideal accounts. Sounds simple enough, right? As advertising expert Leo Burnett said, "Keep it simple. Let’s do the obvious thing - the common thing - but let’s do it uncommonly well.” 

This is a great transition into my next post about Account-Based Selling (ABS), so stay tuned. 


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