Following a design thinking approach can help build a shared understanding and language with your customers. Creating a funnel around purposeful content while making meaningful connections can multiply the power of your network, which will inevitably lead to closing more deals.
Design thinking, or human-centered design, puts your customers’ problems before your solution. Empathizing with their journey instead of force-feeding a product or service you’re mandated to sell. As Ashley Welch and Justin Jones define in their book Naked Sales: How Design Thinking Reveals Customer Motives and Drives Revenue:
“Design is a creative problem-solving methodology used in the pursuit of innovation.” They continue, “Whether you’re innovating a product, service, or experience, you are, by definition, seeking to create something new, something that didn’t exist before.”
In most selling situations, especially enterprise sales, you have a ready-made product or service to sell. With design thinking, you start with the user or customer you’re designing for first, co-creating the solution as you move through the process. Essentially, you’re putting the problem before the solution.
According to Welch and Jones, there’s a three-phased approach to design thinking:
Phase 1: Discovery
- Ways in which we learn about the customer
Phase 2: Insight
- Compile information from the discovery phase into points of view that can add value to the customer
Phase 3: Accelerate
- Co-creating or collaborating on a solution with your customer
Each phase has a certain mindset. Discovery’s mindset is curiosity, insight’s is empathy, and the accelerate phase is agility. Your design thinking sales process comes down to identifying a critical process for customers in the current business environment, developing a compelling point of view (POV) on how it’s broken and what that means in terms of cost, and then connect the problem to a solution that you’re offering. Ultimately, use their data to tell them a story. I will share and go in-depth on tools to utilize in your sales process in my upcoming posts. You’ll find that time to close will shorten and you’ll acquire more information than anticipated.
If you liked this article, check out our comprehensive list of more business tips from Harry Alford in Veteran Startup 101
Feature Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay
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