Sales Effectiveness
6 min reading

The BEBEDC method: 6 steps to turn a prospect into a customer with active listening

Florian Reboussin
Published on
BEBEDC method

The title says it all. The BEBEDC method, yet another method for transforming a prospect into a customer, you might ask? Yes, but this one works, and works well, because it's become one of the most powerful methods for establishing a relationship of trust between a company and its prospect, and for closing a sale more quickly. Go beyond the customer's needs and ask yourself the right questions! As Modjo is a fan of active listening, automation and sales performance software, we present a BEBEDC method that will help you close a sale if you follow the 6 steps correctly.

What is the BEBEDC method? 

We've already heard of the AIDA method, the MEDDIC method, SWOT and SPANCO or SONCAS. You'll have to get used to it: the world of sales prospecting is adept at using acronyms. The BEBEDC method is particularly well-suited to effective customer listening. With its cutting-edge levers, it greatly enhances a prospect's potential, listening to him and respecting his needs and expectations, while saving sales teams precious time

Enough suspense, we're telling you all about the BEBEDC method! Selling better could be his credo.

BEBEDC stands for : 

  • B as in Needs.
  • E for Enjeux.
  • B for Budget. 
  • E for Échéance.
  • D for Decision-makers.
  • C for Competitors.

In other words, how do you meet a prospect's needs and challenges while respecting their budget and deadlines, speaking to the right person and taking into account competitors in the sector to offer them a truly tailored solution? Phew! 

The advantages of the BEBEDC method 

One of the advantages of the BEBEDC method is that it enables you to quickly qualify a prospect and ensure that you can go further towards closing a sale. It ensures that your product is in line with the customer's expectations, and that your sales teams don't waste precious time. 

The BEBEDC method was created by American psychologist Carl ROGERS , who advocates attentive listening and respect for the customer , with the aim of establishing a lasting relationship of trust. It offers a very interesting advantage:sales efficiency centered around the potential customer, who is seen as a human being and not as a portfolio. Valued, listened to, trusted and above all listened to, the prospect is more interested in the product or service presented.

By training your sales teams in the BEBEDC method, you can set up a sales process called customer-centric selling, in which the prospect : 

  • is at the heart of the discussion.
  • is ready to listen, because it has been heard.
  • is more receptive to your sales proposal.

Principle of reciprocity? Yes, of course! In any case, the method works well and helps improve customer satisfaction (and we all know that a happy customer is a returning customer). It also encourages them to talk about and recommend your company, with all its potential benefits. 

What is active listening? 

You've probably already had to deal with a salesperson delivering a memorized speech, accompanied by a sales process focused on the supposed benefits of the product or service. This is passive listening, where the prospect simply listens, sometimes with little attention or personal commitment, before declining the offer. 

Active listening is just the opposite! If the combination of "listening " and "active " sounds like a pleonasm, that's because it places listening at the heart of the communication technique. The salesperson takes care to : 

  • listen to the prospect with interest and empathy.
  • rephrase the future customer's comments to prove that he has understood them correctly.
  • ask questions that lead to an open-ended response, not a simple yes or no.
  • provide valid solutions.

Active listening is a sales force in itself, and often leads to customer retention (a customer who remains loyal to you). Understanding the customer's needs and practicing empathy help to arouse interest and enhance the customer's value.

How to practice active listening in your sales with the BEBEDC method?

Let's get to the heart of the matter and discover the solution offered by the BEBEDC method and its relevance as a new way of selling your products or services. 

B - Understanding the prospect's needs for successful prospecting 

Before meeting your prospect in person, take the time to visit their website and find out more about their activities. You'll be able to check whether your product or service is in line with their expectations, so you don't waste precious time. Once this has been done and you've made your first appointment, you'll adapt your posture to active listening by asking open-ended questions that will enable you to go into greater depth during the interview. This is known as the funnel method in marketing. It will help you to make a proposal that really matches the prospect's needs. Don't forget customer-centric selling, which puts the customer at the heart of the interview.

Please note: if you'd like to find out more about centric selling and this sales strategy, we recommend Michael T. BOSWORTH's book, "Customer Centric Selling", which details the theory behind this practice that emerged in the USA in the 2000s. 

As you can see, your aim is to turn a first meeting out of curiosity into an interest in your product or service. 

E - Understanding the stakes facing the prospect 

The BEBEDC method really insists on this famous "listening to the customer" approach, where the sales person must get involved in understanding the company's challenges. The sales person will prove that the solution provided (product or service) takes into account the economic stakes involved, such as meeting a budget and deadline. These challenges can also be of a commercial, technical, strategic or internal organizational nature.

Here, the salesperson has to identify and understand the company's needs, constraints and potential obstacles, and prove that he or she stands out from the competition. So be careful not to move too quickly, and take the time to properly assess the issues at stake.

B - Budget analysis, the tricky part of negotiation

Ask yourself the right questions! Does your prospect have the financial means to invest? Will your business project remain merely consultative, or can you hope to close a sale? You need toclear up any doubts about the company'sfinancial capacity. If you've taken the time to look into this point before the meeting, you'll probably save time, but the budget will always come up in the discussion. Prepare your arguments! 

To achieve this, you need to get the price right. A price that's too high may be out of your prospect's reach, while one that's too low may suggest that the quality of what you're offering is mediocre. If they tell you about their competitors, as a good salesman you'll know their average prices and where you stand. 

E - Know the deadline and take the timing factor into account 

The prospect may sign an order right away, or he may need time to : 

  • think about your proposal.
  • discuss it with his or her superiors. 
  • find the right time to take care of them.
  • set up internal solutions to host your solution.
  • find financing.

It's never a waste of time to take into account the deadline that will enable you to set the product release date. This will enable you to coordinate the launch of production so that the product is delivered on the right date. Always bear in mind that a delay is always very detrimental to your business! 

But timing is everything! Choose the right time to visit your customer. A florist is unlikely to be available the week of Mother's Day, while an accountant is more likely to be available after his customers' balance sheets close after May. 

D - Finding the right decision-maker and contact person 

First and foremost, the decision-maker is not necessarily the buyer! Some companies have several levels of decision-making when it comes to the act of buying. If a retailer is often the buyer and the decision-maker, it's a different story for companies. Between the technician to whom you present your project and the person who writes the check, there may be several intermediaries. 

You'll need to list all the people involved in the final act of purchase, so that you can identify them and contact the right person to avoid wasting time. Always remember to be gentle with your contact if he or she is not the decision-maker. They may have a say in the final choice made by management!

C - Know your competition to sell better

Here's a valuable indicator! Take the time to find out about the competition, and don't hesitate to ask your contact if they've met your competitors before. But be smart, because your contact won't necessarily want to give you the information you've been waiting for! 

Take the liberty of asking slightly more vague questions related to the competition, such as the time spent researching the product, the average price of a product, the solutions obtained, etc. This set of questions will enable you to know whether you'll be able to provide your customer with a solution. These questions will help you determine whether you'll be able to provide your customer with a solution.

Modjo tips on the BEBEDC method

To conclude this short guide to the BEBEDC method, here are a few tips: 

  • take the time to get to know the company.
  • identify the decision-maker.
  • always be calm and attentive to the customer's needs.
  • add value.
  • never degrade the person you're talking to.
  • know your product or service inside out.
  • know how to conclude your appointment at the right time.

Companies that choose to use the BEBEDC method improve their prospecting time and are more effective in their sales proposals. With its ability to take expectations into account and make proposals in line with needs, this method is the perfect aid to structuring your meetings and ensuring their success.

Florian Reboussin
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