In my last article we looked at the opening of the sale and the need to set the agenda for the meeting. This sets the scene.
To recap –
An agenda might look something like this:
- A brief statement about the purpose of the meeting and the likely outcome
- A value statement about our company and service/product (25 words or less – less is more!)
- Then onto asking them your prepared questions
Secondly it gains permission to ask the prospect questions to gain an understanding of their situation as it relates to your products/services/solutions
I am often asked how long the introductions and agenda setting process should take. My recommendation is 2-3 minutes absolute max – remember its not about us its about them and their needs.
There is an old saying in sales –
“You can listen a buyer into a sale faster than you can talk them into one”
So we have set the agenda, delivered our value statement, asked permission to ask questions, this takes care of the opening, what are your questions?
Well these need to be very carefully planned as questions focus our thinking. Therefore you should never ask a question that could cause the prospect to think about an issue that could adversely affect the sale moving forward.
For example, I will ask you a question shortly and whatever you do don’t think of the answer, remember read the question but don’t think of the answer!
When is your birthday?
If you are like most people you would have thought of your birthday.
One such question most salespeople ask or some variation of is:
“Who is your current provider?”
This focuses their thinking on the person doing the job and if they have a great relationship with them regardless of what sort of job they do you are defeated before you ever get going.
Many salespeople ask a few perfunctory questions which the prospect view as self-serving. Then they dive into “show and tell”. That is they begin showing the prospects samples, brochures, technical data or telling them about the solutions they offer or all about themselves, their company, who they have done work with – you get the idea!
Buyers sometimes refer to them as “Show up and Throw up Artists”.
So it’s a matter of developing a list of questions to help build trust and uncover a number of needs. These in turn will then help you establish the opportunity gap which in turn will show the return on investment.
Next time we will look at the various types of buyer needs that are generic to every business.
Quote of the Week:
A mediocre salesman tells
A good salesman explains
A superior salesman demonstrates
Great salesmen inspire buyers to see the benefits as their own
Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Ltd