Put simply, Selling is determining the client “needs and wants” and “responding through planned, personalized communication” that “influences” the purchase decisions and enhances future business opportunities.
And what do salespeople do? They talk too much!
Recently, I was invited on a joint sales call with a rep. It was his first appointment. He did his preplanning. He knew everything about the company. During the call, he asked one question. How can I help you? The prospect sat there momentary and did not say a word. We all looked at each other in silence.
I waited with anticipation. Each second seemed like 10 seconds. All of a sudden, the rep said, I understand you are looking for an XYZ solution. The prospect said, Yes.
The rep was overly enthusiastic. He immediately asked to plug in his laptop to discuss his value proposition. I was shocked. The prospect allowed him to boot up his laptop, present, then followed up with a few questions. I was astonished.
The presentation lasted 30 minutes. To me, it felt like 2 hours. The rep knew his product, the value his services offered, and offered various resources to support the pre/post sales effort. However, the rep never asked one probing question. All he did was talk.
Each time the prospect tried to ask a question, the rep interrupted and said, “I’ll get to that later”.
I could not let this rep hang himself. I immediately jumped in. Mr. Customer. Can I ask you a few questions? Can you please tell me a little about your business problems? What impact are these problems having on XYZ? Can you monetize the financial impact? Who else is being impacted by these issues? Etc…
After the call, I asked the rep, “what happened in there?” He said, “I’m not sure. I asked him a few questions. His response was either a yes or a no.”
What about the two other times he tried to ask you a question. You cut him off. Why? “I wanted to finish my presentation.”
I stood there…just looking at the rep and wondering, what really happened? Was he properly onboarded? Was this his first experience selling face to face? Did he freeze up? Needless to say, even though the beginning of the sales call did not go as I would have planned, I did secure a second meeting.
What is selling? Selling is about determining the customers need and wants. It includes understanding the customers business, learning about their pain points, understand how the pain affects the overall operations of the company. Once you understand the headaches, you tie your value proposition into a solution that mitigates the customer’s problem[s]. Furthermore, if you can tie a numeric value to the cost-benefit and produce an ROI, you will create a win-win for both parties. Sounds simple — right?
But guess what? Selling is not always talking. Selling is listening. It’s asking the right questions. Having the prospect doing most of the talking while you listen for key buying signals. The more the prospect talk, the greater knowledge you gain. The more you understand their problems, the more you will be looked upon as a business advisor. Only once all of these steps have taken place, you can walk the customer down the buying journey.