BEING QUICK TO ASSUME YOU HAVE A SALE – BEFORE TAKING CONTROL
Here’s one of the most common Sales Killers around today and very few know that it even exists. It’s probably the one sales killer that is so common in the industry and so well accepted by the majority of sellers today, and yet has the potential of stopping over 90% of enquiries and potential presentations from progressing into sales.
You’re in a call, or have received a phone call and the prospect says something like this “What we really need to do is _____,” and they mention something that your product or service would help them solve. And your response went something like, “Right, I think I know what you mean. Now let me tell you how we can fix that.”?
If you have a situation like that and answer in that manner. I all appearances, they sound like they are about to buy the solution available through your product or service.
You work with them, then maybe offer some advice, then more advice, they thank you, you make arrangements to follow up, send out brochures, email them or whatever. Then when it’s time to follow them up, they either fob you off, or tell you it’s not in their budget from now. A little while later you find out that they have bought a cheaper or less effective product from someone else.
Does that all sound familiar? If it doesn’t you’d better learn to analyse your calls. Because here we have a classic situation with someone ready to buy, but because the salesperson wasn’t prepared to probe and to build value, thy bough elsewhere.
But the worst part is, because of the way the prospect was handled, one of the easiest sales, with the prospect literally selling themselves on the benefits of your product or service ended up with a competitor, and what’s worse, with a competitor with an inferior product. What could have been a win/win for everyone ended up with the prospect buying an inferior product based on price and your company losing out because the salesperson not doing the job they were employed for.
Now what should have happed very early in the conversation was this. The prospect said something like, “What we really need to do is _____,” and they mention something that your product or service would help them solve. And the salespersons response should have been, “Why?” By finding out what they said would have given you the reasons why they would want to buy from you. In the process they would be selling themselves, which is always better than the salesperson trying to sell them.
Reinforcing every point, and at times correcting and realigning misconceptions on their part is a part of the value building process. And the more they value what your product or service can do for them, the more likely they are to feel that they cannot do without your product or service.
Remember, they began to sell themselves in the beginning of your conversation, but you stopped the sales flow with, “Right, I think I know what you mean. Now let me tell you how we can fix that.”?
What the salesperson needs to be aware of is that they should be just that, they should be a professional salesperson. And salespeople primarily need to ask questions in the early part of their relationship with a prospect either face to face or over the phone – and never assume what the prospect means by what the prospect says.
A simple why (or similar word or phrase) will give you the answer you need with assuming. Even the most elementary of sales training that a prospect won’t tell you they are thinking without the salesperson’s prompting.
Here are some phrases that may be signs that your prospect may have other issues on their mind. Things they might not explain fully without being prompted by you. You may need to listen for things like:
“We’re thinking about … “The problem here is …”
“We’re considering …” “We’re planning to …”
“The real issue is …” “We’ve noticed …”
“We need to …”
Each of these is an invitation for the professional to focus on what has been said, analyse it, then move forward. A question as simple as, asking a question based on their answer with “Why” and the pivot may be all you need. See how easy this can be:
“We’re thinking about …” “May I ask why you’re thinking about?
“The problem here is …” “Why you see this as a problem?
“We’re considering …” “May I ask why you’re considering?
“We’re planning to …” “May I ask why you’re planning …?
“The real issue is …” “Why you think this is the real issue?
“We’ve noticed …” “May I ask why you’ve noticed …?
“We need to …” “May I ask why you feel you need to?
Then in all of the above, “Why” can be substituted with “How” or “When” or “What” depending on what the salesperson need to know or how they would like to lead that part of the selling process.
Alternately, if the salesperson needs to dig deeper or wants to find more specific reasons, the questioning process could be stepped up a notch with more direct and or leading questions.
The following could apply to any of the above:
“What other effects is that having on your … ?”
“What do you think may be causing that … ?”
“Could we discuss that point a little more?”
“Tell me more about the … ?”
But don’t let things stop there.
All the professionals I know also will tell you that carefully slotted segments of pain that remind them what they have been or are going through generally help them make a decision and or will consolidate the fact that they cannot do without your product ort service any longer.
Here are some of the tried and true questions that have helped salespeople bring the selling process to a close:
“Do you mind me asking why you hadn’t fixed it some time back?
“Can you tell me how long has that been going on?”
“The key to turning that situation around is … ?”
“How often does that seem to happen?”
And if you want them to feel the pain based on not moving on with what they now know they should have done some time back, here are three different levels of the one question to help bring that point home with great effect:
“What is that costing you?”
“What is that costing you?” Really?
“What is that costing you – really costing you?”
Copy and distribute this content as often as you want. You are encouraged to share it. © Copyright Peter Collins, Sydney, Australia, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies over 48 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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