Regardless of the industry, the same principles apply to ensure successful sales and a winning client experience.
We’ve all had a nightmare sales experience in one form or another. How about the one when the sales rep starts talking, and doesn’t stop? They give every detail about the product and service without taking a breath. It’s even worse when what they’re explaining in every last detail has no relevance to your wants or needs. We know when we’re simply being “pitched” and it doesn’t feel good.
On the flip side, every one of us that has ever held a sales position has inadvertently done the very same thing that feels so bad to be on the receiving end of. And unfortunately, it’s the very thing that most likely prevented us from getting the sale. We know the product so well that we overload our prospect by explaining every detail, but we don’t take the time or make the effort to get connected to their needs. We talk too much, don’t ask enough questions and we don’t listen.
If we’re savvy enough, we might actually catch ourselves talking too much and then shift to ask a question or two. But so often, even if we do manage to catch ourselves, we just continue our pitch where we left off.
We talk too much because we know our products and services inside and out and we don’t want to leave anything out that could end up being important to the prospect. We don’t have to share every detail. Instead, we should tune in to what’s important to our client and speak directly to that.
So, how do we know what to share and what to leave out? Ask questions that get your client talking. Shift into genuine inquiry and discovery mode to uncover what their true needs are and which pain points you can address and solve.
Start with the question that will align you with their most critical issues. For example, “If I were able to meet your most pressing needs, what would they be?”
Once you have identified your prospects needs, you can tailor the conversation to speak directly to solving them. However, when you think you’re clear and ready to move on with your presentation, before you start talking again, pause and ask clarifying questions. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you have not only listened, but have also truly heard, understood and integrated what they said. Ask, “I understand your most pressing issues are X and X. Did I get that right?”
If they answer yes, then you know which direction to go in and the specific information you need to share with them. If their answer is “no” or “not exactly,” then seize the opportunity to get clear by asking more questions.
A successful sale starts with listening, listening with a great desire to learn. It takes awareness, attention, intention and tremendous effort, but the pay off is well worth it in the end. If you truly listen to your clients, they will be clients for life!