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.